Amidst all the chatter about International Women's Day, I couldn't help but think how much of it was focused on what we don't have, as apposed to what we do and how much we've to be grateful for (thank you, feminist forebears). Granted, there are glaring equality gaps for those of us in the developed world, which is obviously wrong wrong wrong, and institutionalised sexism – as it plays out in the influential media and entertainment industries in particular – really gets my goat, but how empowering to turn our attention to helping those women who stare at a Grand Canyon sized equality gap. The Purse Project event brought together seven aid organisations to do just that.
The Global Poverty Project, The Hunger Project, International Women’s Development Agency, Muslim Aid Australia, Opportunity International Australia, Oxfam and Plan International Australia – in Martin Place yesterday to bring attention to the issues faced by women in the developing world that we take for granted, such as poverty, hunger, lack of health care or proper housing, inadequate access to education and finance and the denial of human and civil rights.
Helen Merrick from The Purse Project said, "This year marks the significant 100 year milestone for the celebration of International Women’s Day. The Purse Project was established to celebrate the achievements that women have made in the last 100 years, especially economically, politically and socially. However, as far as we have come, there is still much we must do to improve the lives of women, particularly in developing countries. Women perform 66% of the world’s work, produce 50% of the food but earn only 10% of the income and own 1% of the property. We hope that The Purse Project display acts as reminder to Australian men and women of the work that still needs to be done to accomplish a better standard of living for all women in all nations."
In her review of Half the Sky, Lucy brought to light just how touched she was by some of the women's personal stories, which often impact us more than ominous statistics (what can I possibly do?). Imagine how much better the world would be if each of us took what little we could scrape together to support a woman in the developing world – should it be compulsory? Many of us are over-stretched, and I firmly believe that you should direct your charity funds towards those causes that are most important to you, but partnering up with a sister in need to help put her dreams – for the basic things we take for granted – within reach is a project well worth considering.
Girl With a Satchel