WHAT IS INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY?
International Women’s Day is a global event when we celebrate and acknowledge the successes and social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women around the world. Although March 8th is marked annually to acknowledge these achievements, it is not the only day in which women SHOULD be celebrated – this should be everyday. That is what IWD is about. Calling awareness to the biases, both deliberate and unconscious, that women experience all over the world and shouting for change and gender equality.
Every year, International Women’s Day has a campaign theme that is celebrated world wide. This year the focus is to #BreakTheBias. Knowing that bias exists for women is the starting point, but it isn’t enough. We must bring action and change in order to allow women to level the playing field.
HOW IS HFD BREAKING THE BIAS?
“There are risks, violations and vulnerabilities girls face just because they are girls [in India]. Most of these risks are directly linked to the economic, political, social and cultural disadvantages girls deal with in their daily lives. This becomes acute during crisis and disasters.
With the prevalence of gender discrimination, and social norms and practices, girls become exposed to the possibility of child marriage, teenage pregnancy, child domestic work, poor education and health, sexual abuse, exploitation and violence. Many of these manifestations will not change unless girls are valued more.”
Mercy Hospital was founded in 1977 and is a bustling hospital with 173 beds and a range of specialty departments. 40% of all the care given at Mercy Hospital is provided to those who cannot afford the care they need. Many of the nursing staff at Mercy Hospital are graduates of the Mercy School of Nursing.
Mercy Clinics also provide free treatment and education to patients throughout West Bengal. 67% of all patients of Mercy Clinics are women and children. By providing this free care, a heavy burden is lifted off of families who would otherwise not be able to afford healthcare. These clinics therefore directly impact the trajectory of their lives. Having medical treatment available to them is a foundation to #BreakTheBias. Healthy children can go to school and get an education, starting them on the path to create generational changes in their families.
No factor ends recurring cycles of poverty quicker than providing someone with a degree in a well paying, high demand field. With this in mind, Hope Academy awards scholarships for young girls who are poised to change their family’s trajectory with a professional degree. Hope Academy is a 2 year Clinical Nursing Assistant vocational training program for at-risk disadvantaged girls. Graduates are accredited to work in either clinical or home-health settings, earning a quality wage.
Mercy School of Nursing provides professional accreditation to young women, helping to #BreakTheBias and secure a well-paid, respected career. The School offers a 3 year program in General Nursing and Midwifery. Year after year, graduates rank in the top tier nationally and are working throughout India and the world.
HOW CAN YOU BREAK THE BIAS?
By partnering with Head First Development, you are directly impacting the lives of women and girls around the world. When you donate to HFD, you give the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty and create generational change within the lives of disadvantaged women and girls in India.