Posts Tagged ‘women empowerment’
Several years ago while working in Mozambique, she found a connection between inadequate sanitary protection for menstruating girls and women and lost income and education for towns, cities and entire countries,
Through research, she learned that menstruating girls and women lose up to fifty days a year of work or school because they are afraid of leaking through their make shift rags or bark. Scharpf decided to do something about it and launched SHE, which gives out micro-finance loans and basic health training to local women so that they can manufacture pads from local sustainable materials and sell them at affordable prices. Selling the pads is a source of income for the women and the girls and women who have access to the pads are less likely to contract infections and are able to participate in public life every day of the month.
Watch a promo video for the project:
While we take the availability of pads and tampons for granted in the United States, the lack of access to sanitary options has many dangers.
From the Huffington Post:
In developing countries, periods continue to be a serious handicap. According to UNICEF, ten percent of school-age African girls miss school because of a lack of access to affordable sanitary products. In Rwanda, it’s much worse. According to on-the-ground research by Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE), half the girls are missing school due to menstruation and the main reason given is that sanitary pads are too expensive. For women, 24% miss work–up to 45 days per year–for the same reason. This not only limits girls’ educational and women’s professional achievement, but leads to a significant economic loss for nations. SHE estimates that a lack of affordable sanitary pads reduces GDP by $115 million per year in Rwanda alone.
There are also serious health repercussions of not having pads. In Asia, many women still use rags; less fortunate ones use newspapers, banana leaves, even sand or ash. While rags were common before the pad was invented, the problem in developing countries is that often women don’t have access to clean water to wash them. And the taboo of menstruation means that many women cannot hang their rags to dry in the open. So, instead, they hide them in dark, damp places where no one will find them. As one might imagine, infections are rampant.
According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, which includes crimes that were not reported to the police, 232,960 women in the U.S. were raped or sexually assaulted in 2006. That’s more than 600 women every day! There are many factors that contribute to the increasing numbers of women being violently assaulted. The economic decline, foreclosures, and the highest unemployment rates in years have all triggered an atmosphere of anger, desperation and hopelessness.
The entertainment industry creates images which mirrors what is happening in today’s society, and there is some truth that the profusion of murder, sex, and rape may trigger violent reactions in certain individuals. However, I personally do not think the media is a major contribution to the violence against women happening in today’s society. It all starts within the family and parents must take the time in educating their sons to respect the opposite sex as well as teaching them that equality is true across all cultures, races, and religions. In turn, female members of a family unit need to be taught self-respect and that they have the power to control the destiny of their lives without fear of intimidation and violence. Women and girls need to be taught how to protect themselves whether it is through self-defense classes or carrying a personal protection device such as a stun gun, pepper spray, mace, or TASER.
At the end of the day, violence against women is not going away anytime soon, at least until there is tough law reform on how criminals are prosecuted and sentenced. The ignorance from cultural beliefs, prejudice and in some respect media images of women as being the inferior sex all are contributing factors to the victimization of women on a global level. The elimination cut of $20.4 million in funding to 94 domestic violence shelters in California, is another indication that violence against women is not taken into serious consideration. Almost half a century after the feminist movement of the early 1960s took action, have we really come a long way baby? If you think about it, women are still paid lower wages than men, their reproductive rights are under scrutiny, and women in other countries are still being sexually mutilated so they cannot reproduce.
It is not just the entertainment industry at fault here and in fact, if it weren’t for the exposure of heinous treatment of women through the art of filmmaking, many of us would be ignorant to the truth of what is happening not only in the U.S. but around the world. We need to wake up and realize that there is not one factor to blame but a collective response from hundreds of years of intolerance, discrimination and chauvinism.
Susan Fredricks is the general partner of http://www.stingergirlz.com Her Company’s goal and vision is to empower women to protect themselves from predators and to stay safe. Stingergirlz offers a wide variey of personal, travel and home protection devices as well as self defense training literature and videos. Visit http://www.stingergirlz.com today and protect yourself and your loved ones today.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Susan_Fredricks
What bravery! The piece is too descriptive to paraphrase, so here are some highlights written by Anna Badkhen for Ms. Magazine.
On a bullet-scarred side street in Baghdad’s downtown, where U.S. Marines famously helped tear down the statue of Saddam Hussein in April of 2003, an inconspicuous entryway tucked between a steel-shuttered shop and a rickety candy stall leads to a flight of steep concrete stairs. Rusted water pipes run precariously over and across the poorly lit top step, tripping first-time visitors. The second-floor landing bottlenecks into a dark, empty hallway. Women in black abayas hurry across the buckled floor tiles in silence and quickly disappear through an unmarked plywood door on the right.The decrepit two-bedroom apartment behind this unassuming portal is an essential junction of what activists in Iraq and their U.S. supporters call the Underground Railroad. This Railroad is a small, clandestine network of several shelters, located mostly in Baghdad, for the countless but commonly overlooked victims of the war in Iraq: women who have been raped, battered or forced into prostitution, or women who, accused of bringing dishonor to their families by having been abused, have been rejected or even threatened with death by their relatives.
In a country ravaged by war and fractured along sectarian lines, these shelters serve women who have nowhere else to turn for help. Operated despite recurring threats and lack of government support by a team of 35 Iraqi activists who call themselves the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI), the shelters offer a glint of hope for civil society.
The Underground Railroad was founded in 2004 by Baghdad-born architect-turned-feminist-organizer Yanar Mohammed, head of OWFI, along with MADRE, an international women’s rights group based in New York. It provides the only sanctuaries for victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence outside the quasi-autonomous Kurdistan region in northern Iraq, where the local government and NGOs operate several similar shelters. In addition to providing temporary asylum, it helps women resettle in places where their abusers cannot find them easily. Since its inception, says MADRE Policy and Communications Director Yifat Susskind, the Railroad has helped thousands of women. Several have been transferred to Turkey, at least two now live in the U.S., but most of the rescued women have remained in Iraq.
Read the rest here!