Around 15 to 76 percent of women around the world experience physical or sexual violence from men in their lifetime. This staggering statistic has called the attention of people, organizations, and governments around the world to take action and put an end to such vehement behavior.
UN Women has been taking serious measures to stop such violence. It created the COMMIT campaign to which 18 countries have pledged to “take initiatives to stop gender-based violence.”
In 2008, Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General, launched UNiTE to End Violence against Women, a campaign that aims to prevent and eliminate violence against women and girls around the world. Some of the aims of this campaign include: “adopt and enforce national laws to address and punish all forms of violence against women and girls, increase public awareness and social mobilization, address sexual violence in conflict,” to name a few.
On February 14, 2013, UN officials met to take a stance against such violence. In his message calling everyone to unite to end violence against women and girls, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged everyone to speak out. “The global pandemic of violence against women and girls thrives in a culture of discrimination and impunity.”
Other efforts include those of the One Billion Rising campaign which invites “ONE BILLION women to walk out, dance, rise up, and demand an end to this violence.” These events take place all over every February 14.
Want to help put an end to violence against women? Then ask Congress to pass the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) by following this link:http://takeaction.amnestyusa.org/siteapps/advocacy/ActionItem.aspx?c=6oJCLQPAJiJUG&b=6645049&aid=519249&msource=W1302EAWMN2
Is human trafficking and violence a ‘hot button’ topic for you? Then you should join Women’s Forum @ UNA-GB for International Women’s Day on Monday, March 4. We will be screening “Not My Life” and have a great panel discussion following the film. For more information, check out the registration page.
Today, Thursday, March 8, the world celebrates the 101st anniversary of the International Women’s Day, honoring the lives of all women and girls. Here at UNA-GB, we kicked off the celebrations a little early with our annual film screening and panel discussion on Monday, March 5th. We had more than 100 members of the community come together for War Redefined, the final film in the Women, War & Peace series. The film was followed by an enthusiastic and informative conversation among our wonderful panelists: The series executive producer Abigail E. Disney, Ambassador Swanee Hunt, Dr. Amani El Jack and Sahana Dharmapuri. Take a look here for some pictures of our event.
War Redefined challenges the conventional wisdom that war and peace constitute a man’s sphere. The film features insightful conversations with Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton, former Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and Madeleine Albright, Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee, Bosnian war crimes investigator Fadila Memisevic, the founder of Women for Women International Zainab Salbi, globalization expert Moisés Naím, and Cynthia Enloe of Clark University.
Today, many more wars are fought within countries with failing states compared to wars fought across borders. The proliferation of the use of small arms in the aftermath of the Cold War has transformed the landscape of war. War is no longer fought among the uniformed military forces of two or more countries. In this post-Cold War era, civilians have become the primary victims of war, with women being the foremost targets, and suffering unprecedented casualty rates.
One of the most heinous crimes perpetrated against women during and in the aftermath of wars is sexual violence. Rape and other forms of sexual violence have become major strategies used in modern wars. War Redefined portrays how millions of women and children have been victimized in civil wars ranging from Bosnia to Rwanda. This has brought into sharp relief the concept of human security as contrasted with national security. Even though women and children constitute the overwhelming number of the victims of war, people tasked with peacemaking have traditionally been men.
Recognizing this paradox, United Nations Security Council in the year 2000 passed Resolution 1325 which called for peace agreements to take into account the special needs of women and girls, to support women’s peace initiatives, and implement international humanitarian and human rights law concerning rights of women and girls. The resolution further urged all parties to take action to protect women and girls from gender-based violence, and to respect their special needs in humanitarian and refugee emergencies.
Accordingly, War Redefined portrays how the United States military has begun to task women soldiers to work closely with Afghani women to address their needs such as health care and food security. Humanity is slowly but surely recognizing Harriet Beecher Stowe’s observation that “Women are the real architects of society.” Women can only achieve security, happiness and true liberation when they themselves take the initiative, and raise their voices against inequality and violence. Only then will the world come to celebrate the Women’s Day in its full glory.
The conversation held on Monday between the panelists and the audience was rousing, provactive and inspiring – I look forward to seeing how the Boston community continues to engage with gender justice and equity issues!
HAPPY 101st INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY! Click here for our blog post detailing additional events around Boston – there are still some to come!
International Women’s Day has been observed since the early 1900s when it was originally celebrated as International Working Women’s Day. It is recognized on March 8th every year and honors women’s economic, political, and social achievements.
Gender equality is a huge focus for the UN community, with Millennium Development Goal #3 specifically designed to empower women and girls, and dozens of the agencies and entities focused on gender-based initiatives. In fact, this year honors the official one year anniversary of the creation of UN Women, a more powerful UN entity designed to help spread gender equality and women’s rights empowerment.
International Women’s Day is near and dear to UNA-GB, as we have celebrated it with an annual film screening and panel for the past few years. This screening is the biggest event of our Women’s Forum, which was created in 2006 to raise awareness about women’s issues in developing countries and engage men and women in Boston on solutions. You can learn more about this year’s screening below, and make sure to check out last year’s blog post on our screening event.
We hope you can join us at some (or all!) of the events listed below. We will continue to update the blog as we learn of more events, so check back! It’s important that we continue to work together towards eliminating discrimination and improving the lives of women all across the world.
International Women’s Day Film Screening and Panel
War Redefined with Series Producer Abigail E. Disney
When: Monday, March 5; 5:30 – 8:30 PM
Where: MCLE Auditorium, 10 Winter Pl, Boston
Don’t miss UNA-GB’s annual International Women’s Day Celebration, featuring a film screening of War Redefined, the last of the Women, War & Peace series, produced by series executive producer Abigail E. Disney. A panel discussion on the role of women in peace building and war will follow the film, featuring Abigail E. Disney, Ambassador Swanee Hunt, Dr. Amani El Jack and Sahana Dharmapuri. This is an incredibly timely topic, with 3 women peace-builders winning the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, the Obama Administration’s December announcement of the US National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security, and Secretary Clinton’s recent comments on the lack of women at high-level security talks.
War Redefined reframes our understanding of modern warfare through probing conversations with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and Madeleine Albright; Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee; Bosnian war crimes investigator Fadila Memisevic; Zainab Salbi, Founder of Women for Women International; globalization expert Moisés Naím; and Cynthia Enloe of Clark University, among others.
Along with hosting our annual International Women’s Day film screening and celebration, UNA-GB is also co-sponsoring some incredible International Women’s Day Events in Boston:
Ending Violence Against Women: Pathways to Power, Resilience and Leadership International Women’s Day Breakfast
When: Thursday, March 8; 7:30-9:30 AM
Where: Simmons College, Linda K. Paresky Conference Center, Boston
Join UNA-GB and dozens of organizations around Boston in celebrating the city’s 15th Annual International Women’s Day Breakfast. Panel will include Purnima Mane, CEO and President of Pathfinder International, Boston City Councillor Ayanna Pressley, Audrey Porter of My Life My Choice and Ann Fleck Henderson from Simmons College.
RSVP at http://iwd2012.eventbrite.com/
Women for Women International’s Boston “Join Us at the Bridge” Event
When: March 8, 10am-12pm
Where: Massachusetts Avenue Bridge Boston
Stand up with women around the world, honoring the strength of women working for equality, justice, and peace.
Feeding Boston, Changing the World: International Women’s Day 2012
When: Saturday, March 10, 2012, 6-9pm
Where: Ballroom, Curry Student Center, Northeastern University
What: Panel discussion followed by a dinner celebration
Free and open to the public. Spaces limited. RSVP here.
This International Women’s Day, Boston’s Oxfam Action Corps invites you to honor women who work the land, feed their families, and plow the way forward to more sustainable agricultural economies here and abroad.
Additional International Women’s Day Events around Boston:
End Impunity for Sexual Violence against Women and Girls
When: Thursday, March 8, 2012 5:00PM-7:30PM
Where: Old South Meeting House
Latina Women’s Conference
Extraordinary Women fighting for Migration Justice
Where: MA State House
When: Friday, March 9th, 2012 9:30- am- 3:00pm
Hosted by: Women in Solidarity Committee, whose network of Women in Solidarity is growing. 300 Latina women participated in 2011. Latina women advocated last year to opposed secure community program and create a community forum to reflect on violence and immigration issues. Their goal is to create space for Latinas por el Cambio and expanded their reach to other places. They founded the Massachusetts Coalition for Domestic Workers.
Celebrate International Women’s Day Event at Gallery Kayafas
When: Thursday, March 8, 2012 at 7pm – 8:30pm
Where: Gallery Kayafas, 37 Thayer St. @450 Harrison Ave., Boston, MA 02118
Learn about AI’s work defending women’s rights featuring Zainab Abdullah, a member of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan who has recently returned from researching honor killings in Pakistan. She will be joined by Beena Sarwar, a leading Pakistani journalist and democracy, human rights, and peace advocate. Hosted by the Back Bay Amnesty Group. RSVP to Alexandra Prim by 3/5/12. Space is limited. Learn more.
Celebrate International Women’s Day at the Eritrean Community Center
Where: 590 Shawmut Ave, Boston
When: Saturday, March 10th, 8-10pm
The Eritrean Community Center of Greater Boston works to promote social and cultural interactions among Eritrean-Americans as well as area residents and friends for mutual understanding and awareness, integration, economic self-sufficiency, Eritrean heritage, and youth leadership.
2012 International Women’s Day:
Rally & March
When: March 10, 12 PM
Where: Meet at the Boston Common at the Gazebo
Meet to kick of the rally and then we’ll take it to the streets with guest speakers at Court Street, State Street MBTA, and State House. All individuals and groups are encouraged to bring a banner or signs, instruments, and other creative forms of expression and march together in struggle for living wage jobs, universal healthcare and childcare for all.
Where: Midway Café 3496 Washington St, Jamaica Plain 02130
When: March 10, 7 PM
Benefiting The Prison Birth Project & Girls Rock Campaign Boston $5 at the door, 21+ event
To register email InternationalWomensDayBoston@gmail.com
Harvard Kennedy School’s International Women’s Day Celebration
When: March 8, 2012
Where: HKS campus, various locations
8:30 – 10:00am, Breakfast for faculty, students and staff
Allison Dining Room, Taubman building, 5th floor
The Women and Public Policy Program is hosting a breakfast with HKS Academic Dean, Iris Bohnet, women faculty from across Harvard, students, staff and other members of our community. All are welcome!
11:40am – 1:00pm, WAPPP Seminar: Women’s Health and Health System Reform: The Route to Transformational Development?
WAPPP Cason Seminar Room, Taubman Building, 102
Health system reform in the United States and globally holds the promise of improving the health and well-being of women and a major opportunity for development, particularlyin the developing world. Dr. Johnson will explore the intersection of health system reform and the opportunities for transformational development through improvements in women’s health status, workforce development, and advancing women’s rights.
6:00 – 8:00pm, Film Screening: Iron Jawed Angels
WAPPP Cason Seminar Room, Taubman Building, 102
“Iron Jawed Angels” tells the remarkable and little-known story of a group of passionate and dynamic young women who put their lives on the line to fight for American women’s right to vote.
To learn more about even more events happening in your area, check out the International Women’s Day website. Let us know if you find any other events in the Boston area to celebrate International Women’s Day, so that we can update this blog to help people stay connected and aware of how to get involved locally!
“Since the human race began, women have delivered for society. It is time now for the world to deliver for women.” -The Lancet
With the world’s population set to hit 7 billion by the end of this month (6,994,726,950 was the most recent population count at the time of this posting – check out the current world’s population counter here) our Women’s Forum event “Women, Population, and the MDGs” , was a conversation that is more timely than ever! The luncheon roundtable event featuring Jane Roberts was held on October 6th to a packed room of 60 attendees during a weekday noon.
Jane Roberts is a grassroots advocate who exemplifies the power of taking a single action and making a huge difference. She is the co-founder, with Lois Abraham, of the 34 Million Friends of the UNFPA project. Her contributions in the fields of population, development, the environment, and the human rights of women and girls have led to her recognition in 2003 by Ms. Magazine as one of their Women of the Year. In 2004, Women’s eNews selected her as one of the 21 Leaders for the 21st Century. Along with Lois Abraham, Ms. Roberts was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by the 1000 Peace Women Project under the patronage of UNESCO in 2005. In the same year, she published her first book 34 Million Friends of the Women of the World.
Ms. Roberts has traveled widely, and given public talks around the country in addition to extensive TV and radio interviews. In 2008, Ms. Roberts was named a Purpose Prize Fellow by Civic Ventures. She received the Global Citizenship Award from the United Nations Association of Southern California in 2009. In the same year, Jane Roberts and her 34 Million Friends of the UNFPA project were featured in the book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.
Jane finished her speech with her radical grassroots proposal,
“When the world takes care of women, women take care of the world,”
leaving just enough time for our engaged audience to ask a few questions, focused on how to change the culture on the ground, how to engage men in the conversation, and what we can do to get engaged.
The call to action also included ways you can support UNA-GB’s work, including our current 66 for 66 campaign that is geared towards educating the next generation of global leaders to tackle the pervasive problem of gender inequality. Find out more here: http://www.crowdrise.com/unday2011/fundraiser/unitednationsassocia1
On October 24, 100 Boston area middle and high school youth will convene at the State House, stepping into the shoes of ambassadors from countries as diverse as Afghanistan, South Korea and Mali to debate solutions to the question: Why do global inequalities for women in education and employment persist and what can be done about it?
Help us provide this opportunity FREE OF COST to all the youth and donate now here: http://www.crowdrise.com/unday2011/fundraiser/unitednationsassocia1
Many Thanks as well to our two fabulous co-sponsors, JSI and Pathfinder International!
John Snow, Inc., and its nonprofit affiliate JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc., are public health research and consulting firms dedicated to improving the health of individuals and communities throughout the world. JSI builds local capacity to address critical health problems, collaborating with local partners to assist countries, governments, communities, families, and individuals to develop their skills and identify solutions that meet their public health needs. JSI has implemented projects in 104 countries, and currently operates from eight U.S. and 81 international offices, with more than 500 U.S.-based staff, and 1,500 host country national field-based staff. Learn more here!
Pathfinder International’s mission is to ensure that people everywhere have the right and opportunity to live a healthy sexual and reproductive life. In more than 25 countries, Pathfinder provides women, men, and adolescents with a range of quality health services—from contraception and maternal care to HIV prevention and AIDS care and treatment. Pathfinder strives to strengthen access to family planning, ensure availability of safe abortion services, advocate for sound reproductive health policies, and, through all of our work, improve the rights and lives of the people we serve. Learn more here!
With the global population set to reach 7 billion people later this year food and resource security is becoming increasingly more important. This week a new report from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and its partners announced that investing in healthy ecosystems could improve food security, enhance resilience to climate change, as well as provide economic benefits for poor communities.
The report, which was written by over 50 contributors, uses case studies of China, Guatemala, Jordan as well as others to present the issues as well as recommend changes. The three specific areas of change in order to improve food security and reduce stresses on water supplies are detailed as: environmental protection, water resources management and food production. The report also explains that one of the most difficult challenges in improving current levels of food production is the availability of water because it is needed for livestock, crop irrigation, fisheries and other agricultural uses. Likewise, the report also makes recommendations for drylands, wetlands, crop systems, fisheries and livestock systems.
“Maintaining healthy, resilient ecosystems to ensure water availability for agriculture and other ecosystem services is thus essential for long-term food security,” a press release on the report produced by UNEP and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) stated.
Investing in our healthy ecosystems could make huge differences in the everyday and long-term lives of communities around the globe. You can also get involved in a variety of ways, both small and big, through WhyHunger.com – a organization building a movement to end hunger and poverty by connecting people to nutritious, affordable food and by supporting grassroots solutions. Likewise you can read more about the global food crisis and what the UN is doing to help here.
Here at UNA-GB we will be holding a Women’s Forum Luncheon Roundtable on October 6th, which will focus on Women, Population, and the Millennium Development Goals. Jane Roberts, a grassroots advocate who is the co-founder of the 34 Million Friends of the UNFPA project will share how supporting gender equality makes a positive impact on all of the MDGs and population issues as a whole. Her contributions in the fields of population, development, the environment, and the human rights of women and girls have led to many recognitions, including a feature chapter in Nicholas Kristof’s NY Times bestseller Half the Sky. RSVP now to get involved and join the conversation!
It’s Monday! Here’s this week’s post for our Get Educated, One Blog At A Time blog series! This week you can read about gender equality and women’s rights in the Middle East. Also, check out our past blog posts from the series, including: “A Historical Moment For Genocide”, “Two Sides To Invest”, “An Undefined Grasp Of Failure”, “A Necessary Priority”, “A Reform For The World”, “The Rural Challenge” and “Help Starts Young”.
The issues of female rights and gender equality in the Middle East exist as challenges the UN, activists, citizens, and many others are currently trying to correct. Most Middle Eastern countries follow the Islamic religion, laying the foundation for what some have interpreted as female obedience and submission to men. These countries have expanded upon and even created rules for women that mimic religious fanaticism. As Middle Eastern/Arab countries such as Bahrain, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq are now preoccupied with the issue of the Arab Springs and the political and social changes engulfing their country, women’s rights are being pushed to the backburner as insignificant worries. Nevertheless, gender equality remains an important issue that needs to be addressed.
The absence of gender equality in the Middle East is apparent in social restrictions, cultural regulations, politics, and lack of economic rights and opportunity that women experience in this region everyday. According to the laws of Islam, the separation of genders is necessary because women have the ability to tempt men through improper behavior. In Saudi Arabia, for example, women and men are not allowed to use/occupy the public library at the same time. Also, females are required to dress “modestly” in many of these countries so as to conceal their bodies for their husband and prevent temptation: women in both Saudi Arabia and the Kashmir region in India have been threatened, beaten, and unfairly treated for not wearing the burqa, a garment that covers the entire body and leaves little holes for the eyes. In terms of politics, women are restricted from roles of power and authority that are believed to belong to men. Laws protecting women from physical abuse and sexual abuse within a marriage are rare. Relating to Middle Eastern women’s inability to hold positions of power, economic opportunities such as entrepreneurship and leading a company are almost impossible dreams.
UN Documents like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) stand as milestones for the efforts international gender equality. Both documents have councils that are in charge of monitoring the progress of those countries that have ratified them with regards to gender equality. Ensuring that each individual country is making progressive strides towards female empowerment are the committees’ primary concerns. While the UDHR states rights as “no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” and “everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law”, CEDAW is aimed at specifically ensuring female empowerment, equality, and opportunities worldwide. While gender inequality is still very much a reality of our world today, countries like Kuwait (gave women the right to vote and run for office in 2005) and Bahrain (now allows for the appointment of female judges) are making significant strides towards ending this injustice and promoting the equality we each deserve, gender aside.
Another week has just begun and today we have our weekly blog post from our Get Educated, One Topic At A Time blog series. This week learn about rural development in today’s world, including the benefits and challenges it introduces to areas around the world in rural areas with the need for development for a brighter future. Check out our other blog posts in the series, including: “Creating A Road To Democracy”, “A Historical Moment For Genocide”, “Two Sides To Invest”, “An Undefined Grasp Of Failure”, “A Necessary Priority” and “A Reform For The World”. Check back next Monday for a new post on a whole new topic to ‘get educated’ on!
Approximately 1.7 billion people live in absolute poverty today. According to the World Bank, about 75% of the world’s poorest live in rural areas. Rural development is an important international step, not only to reduce poverty, but also to ensure food security and foster agricultural growth worldwide.
The World Bank defines rural development as “improving the living standards of the low-income population residing in rural areas and making the process of their development self-sustaining.” This definition is driven by concerns over the increasing of rural poverty and the increased focus on improving the socioeconomic well-being of the poor through sustainable improvements. However, rural development faces structural problems such as proper transportation of food, lack of physical and social infrastructure, and underemployment in the rural workforce. This impedes growth, development, and poverty reduction in rural areas.
In 1990, the World Bank adopted an economic strategy of “poverty reducing growth” that created opportunities to earn income and improve services for the poor. This leads to a diversity of local services that will in turn lead to “balanced and sustainable rural economic growth and food security.” There is also a need to promote equal opportunity for competition, by favoring small enterprise over large, urban-based enterprise and to concentrate on rural communities.
Rural women and children are significantly affected by poverty. In developing countries, women make up about 43% of the agriculture labour force. They work as wage labourers, sell produce, and participate in small-scale trading. In developing countries such as Africa, Asia and the Pacific, women work an average of 12 more hours each week than men. However, women are held back by low education, unequal property right laws and limited access to resources. Rural children are affected by child labour. 70% of all child labour in the world, which is equal to about 150 million children, takes place in agriculture. Child labour is often difficult to track or underreported and there is no clear defined difference between child labour and children working to help their families. It is also difficult to directly challenge and eliminate when children make up about one-third of the agriculture work force. Thus, policies attempt to improve overall working conditions and reduce safety hazards, as well as improve access to education for children. Nevertheless, the main root of child labour lies in rural poverty.
Currently, changes in agricultural markets are providing new opportunities for smallholder farmers to improve their productivity, especially in developing countries. But, the 2011 Rural Poverty Report of the IFAD says that there still remains “an urgent need…to invest more and better in agriculture and rural areas.” International actions by the World Bank, the International Labour Organization and the UN Millennium Development Goals stress the challenges in rural development, but also provide frameworks to increase rural employment and smallholder agriculture and reiterate the goal of halving the number of people suffering from extreme poverty and hunger by 2015.
A lot of focus was on the global leaders of our future throughout this week as the week started with the UN high-level meeting dedicated to the development of youth. The theme of the meeting was “Youth: Dialogue and Mutual Understanding”, just in time as the International Year of Youth is coming to an end this summer.
Along with the topic of youth, came a new report released by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) at a side event of the UN high-level meeting, the report titled “Securing the Future Today“. This report and discussion focused on the youth’s actions to fight against the disease of AIDS. This will be a step in the right direction for our future, and the future goals in the UN’s Millennium Development Goals as goal #6 focuses on the global fight against the disease, HIV/AIDS, and other diseases including malaria.
Disease was also a big topic this week, as millions of children received the measles vaccination in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The UN World Health Organization helped in coordinating this great achievement, as there has been a measles epidemic that many people have lost their lives to and the funding was needed to make this event a great success. In efforts to globally fight against more diseases, the UN marked July 27th World Hepatitis Day as a day to recognize the fight and prevention of the disease. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with the soccer team FC Barcelona have joined this week in the fight against disease to create a campaign against polio, called “More than a Goal. End Polio”. With a said 1 percent left in the fight against the disease and its eradication, the organizations are determined to put an end to it.
Along with disease, comes the support of resources and nutrition throughout the world so that people can survive with access to basic needs and children can develop and prosper. The crisis in the Horn of Africa continued this week as the drought is causing a lack of water and therefore threat of nutrition to people throughout the continent’s nations. More support is needed, as there are also many children suffering from this crisis, causing malnutrition and this threatening their survival in the crisis for all, with a said $1.4 billion in funding appealed by the UN to support the cause.
Efforts continue to assist globally in the fights against disease, malnutrition, resources and overall the availability of safe living conditions around the world. Support and funding is needed to continue to allow for these wonderful projects to develop and you can get involved in the action! In time for August 2nd, you can contact Congress representatives to share your voice towards the budget cuts that will unfortunately help support programs like these, specifically programs that help support women and girls throughout the world have availability to resources.
Join in the support and action to help the people of today in any way you can and the global leaders of tomorrow in our youth today!
Wherever you are from, whatever nation or clan you belong to, if you a woman, you are part of a tribe called “women”. This thought was the theme of our annual International Women’s Day celebration and film screening, held on Monday, March 14.
We had the privilege of showing the first screening of A Tribe of Women, which is a documentary for Sudanese women’s courageous quest to stop war in Sudan. This film is based on the concept that women understand other women regardless of their ethnicity and tribe, and together can make a real difference in the journey towards peace. The women featured in the film are from different areas in Sudan and come from very different backgrounds. However, al of the women experienced tragedy, fear, and loss throughout the on-going civil wars, and they also share a sense of hope and healing for the future.
Thato Mwosa, a female filmmaker, who is from Botswana, followed My Sister’s Keeper, an organization dedicated to women peace-builders in Sudan, as they launched their Sisterhood for Peace Initiative. Through the camera, we hear the voices of Sudanese women and see their shared experiences lifted up. Their collected voices empowered them to take action to emphasize the importance of ending war in Sudan. Their work has not been easy: ministers at Doha Rounds in Qatar refused to meet with them, but the women showed up anyway. They set up a table in the lobby of the hotel where the ministers were staying and demanded that they held a meeting to listen to what the women had to say. Through Sisterhood for Peace, the women are uniting to bring about real change and real peace.
After the screening, Thato Mwosa, the film maker, Sarah Rial, one of the featured women in the film and the Program Director of My Sister’s Keeper, Gloria E. White-Hammond, executive director of My Sister’s Keeper, and Liz Walker, the film’s producer answered the audience’s questions and talked about their thoughts, process of the action, the film and their wish.
While the first draft of the film is complete, the work of the women (and the film!) is not over! They are continuing their work but progress is slow. This story is not over, so they need support to be able to make aware of the war and women’s experiences in Sudan. To learn how you can support the film and My Sister’s Keeper’s work, go here.
Peace comes only when we join together to work for a better world, and there is a special role for women at the table, which we were really able to celebrate and lift up as we honored International Women’s Day! Celebrate the sheroes in your life all year round!
PS. See more photos from our International Women’s Day film screening!