International Women’s Day

International Women’s day celebrated on the 8th of March is a time to build support for women’s rights and participation in the political and economic arenas. According to the World Bank, gender equity is key to achieving the Millennium Development Goals, “putting resources into poor women’s hands while promoting gender equity in households and society results in large development payoffs”.

Celebrating Women in SWHAP

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Poverty and gender inequality are some of the factors contributing to the spread and greatest impact of HIV.Two workplace programme coordinators from the SWHAP network share their perspectives on the theme for International Women’s Day, “Equality for women is progress for all”:

Claire

Claire Mawana, Programme Coordinator, Ericsson DRC

“Equality for women is progress for all”. What does this mean for you?

This is an opportunity for women to prove their capabilities and show their potential to contribute to development in their communities. The same opportunities must be given to all, both men and women, to contribute in promoting health at the workplace, implementing mechanisms for prevention and sustainable workplace programmes and to address diseases which are specific to women.

How have you been working to promote gender equity in your workplace programme?

I had the opportunity to be part of the steering committee which was appointed to implement the programme last year, and by working hard, proving that what matters is not gender but what you can contribute towards successful programme implementation, I am now coordinating the programme for 2014.

KediousKedious Mphiningo, Programme Coordinator, Revco Zimbabwe 

How have you been working to promote gender equity in your workplace programme?

Through our community outreach programme we have initiated a micro lending “Wellness and Banking Club” for unemployed women in our community. Women meet and pool their resources together and borrow against that fund to start income generating projects. The Wellness and Banking Club is also a platform for participants to learn information about health and wellness. Participants gather on the last Saturday of each month for workshops on topics such as HIV, financial wellness, self-esteem, women in leadership, as well as technical assistance on running businesses.

Is gender equity important for men?

Yes, gender equity is not just important but beneficial for men. Some of the problems that our nation is facing will fall away, for example poverty, if gender equity is promoted. I strongly believe in the 2014 theme, there must be equality in positions and resource allocation. Once we all see each other as equal, then progress really begins.

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