International Women's Day, a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, is an important milestone for Feed the Children as it works to support the growth and development of women in the U.S. and around the world. This year’s theme “break the bias” challenges everyone to take action to accelerate women's equality.
“While women represent 51 percent of the US population and 60 percent of college students, we unfortunately still only represent 21 percent of senior leadership positions in the U.S.,” said Roxanne Bernstein, EVP and President, North America for ACCO Brands and Feed the Children board director. “The good news here is that these stats are improving – opportunities are becoming more abundant and assumptions about female capabilities are far more positive than they once were.”
Feed the Children believes women and mothers are often the backbone of their communities and wherever there is enough support for women, the entire community stands to benefit. Through their various programs, Feed the Children works to address many issues women face today including economic growth and self-esteem both in the U.S. and eight countries around the world.
Internationally, the nonprofit works to reach women and mothers through Care Groups, a program designed to help mothers provide better care to their children by facilitating training sessions about nutrition and illness.
“Mentorship comes in many forms…perhaps it’s a one-on-one relationship; or even better, it’s observing and gleaning insights from a variety of leaders and peers that form the “what ifs” of who we can possibly be,” said Rhonda Hooper, Jordan Advertising president and Feed the Children board vice chairman.
Feed the Children’s Village Savings and Loan (VSL) group has been both empowering and life changing for Doña Gregoria Gatica, a member of the El Bejucal VSL group in Guatemala. By pooling money with other women in her community members, she was able to take out a small loan to purchase green bean seeds and establish a garden. Today, she harvests enough green beans to sell in her community. Not only has she repaid her loan to the VSL group, but she is also generating enough income to pay her household expenses.
In the U.S., Feed the Children works with corporate and community partners to support low-income women by providing personal care and beauty products, clothing and shoes to women. Many of whom have shared their stories of improved self-confidence and empowerment as a result of this support.
International Women's Day challenges groups worldwide to strive for inclusive cultures and inspire women to pursue goals without bias or barrier.
“I have had great role models and I want to help the next generation of women be successful,” said Kathy Thomas, Half Price Books President and Feed the Children board secretary. “I don’t want my 27-year-old daughter and her colleagues and friends to have to face the same biases that I did.”
While Feed the Children's work to support and empower women continues, it cannot be done alone. With the support of corporate and community partners, individual donors and volunteers, Feed the Children is able to provide its vast network of community partners with the resources needed for their communities.
Visit feedthechildren.org/internationalwomensday to provide hope and resources for women around the world. Each dollar you donate provides $9 of food and essentials to children and families.