International Women’s Day Executive Director Message
Click here to see a message from the Executive Director: practicing Ubuntu to end violence and gender inequality.
Today is International Women’s Day 2018 and unfortunately, women and girls are still facing
unbearable violence. 2017 was a year marked with bringing gender inequality issues to light
with initiatives such as the #MeToo campaign and the Times Up movement highlighted issues
women face on a daily basis. In light of this, it is obvious that we still have significant work to
do to address these issues and achieve equality.
The concept of Ubuntu is something that guides me personally and professionally. Ubuntu
translates in an African dialect as “to have consideration and be humane towards others.” This
is done by providing a caring space and genuinely putting the wellbeing of others as a priority.
So long as we are still breathing; so long as we are alive, we are in charge of our lives. We must
play a major role in empowering women and girls. It’s not only to help these women and girls
as individuals, but it’s also for the good of society as a whole.
I call on everyone to exercise Ubuntu through daily actions! True Ubuntu and grace is more
than a sporadic action of charity. It means taking a genuine interest in the lives of women and
girls. It is also persistently taking a purposeful stance on advancing gender equality. Far too
many women and girls are experiencing horrible mistreatment here at home and abroad.
Our young girls are being exploited, raped, murdered and left in a muddy river or back lane.
They are being treated less than human!
Across the World, young girls are being subjected to sexual enslavement by terrorist groups.
80% of sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the survivor or by someone in a
position of authority and trust. Often when they come forward, they experience re-
victimization through the justice system and society. They are too often shamed or blamed for
the abuse they suffered.
Women are being raped under the disguise of conjugal unions or common law partners; in
some cases, victims of gender based violence are being forced to marry their perpetrators.
We have seen children as young as 5 years old being sold for the purpose of defilement and or
We hear far too many stories of women being asked for sexual favours or domestic servitude in
lieu of rent money.
Inequality is more than economic disparity; it permeates into gender inequality which can be a
terrible form of oppression, particularly when it is rooted deep into what is seen as societal
We need thorough policy reforms to promote women’s rights, eliminate the gender wage gap.
We need to see women better represented in leadership roles. Promoting education and
facilitating access to child care are also important.
We cannot sit back, pray and wish for a better tomorrow. We need to support one another, to
look out for each other and to take meaningful actions that will have an impact on empowering
women and girls so that we can see a change as soon as possible.
Let’s practice Ubuntu by building collaboration, resilience and unity amongst us all. This can be
as simple as providing a space for girls and women to share their stories in a safe environment
and by showing them our unconditional support.
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