International Women's Day 2018: #PressforProgress

International Women's Day (IWD) has been observed for over 100 years in countries all over the world. It's a global movement that tells the story of women's struggle for equality—from voting rights, to equal pay, to freedom from violence and persecution. The day is both a chance to acknowledge and celebrate the accomplishments of women, as well as a reminder that there is still much work to be done.

Gender parity has been a hot topic in the news lately. With protests, women's marches, and movements like #NeverthelessShePersisted, #MeToo, and #TimesUp, people everywhere are fired up and ready for change. According to the World Economic Forum's 2017 Global Gender Gap Report though, at our current rates of progress, it would take over 200 years to close the existing gender gap. In Tanzania, the situation is equally as troubling. Out of 144 countries surveyed, Tanzania ranks 68th overall in terms of the gender gap, and 125th in terms of educational attainment across genders. 

With these sobering statistics, it's only fitting that the campaign theme for this year's IWD is #PressforProgress. #PressforProgress is a call-to-action for us to press forward and demand progress on the global stage. Everyday, women prove that they are just as capable as their male counterparts (or even more so!), and it's about time that society recognizes that. Now, more than ever, women need equal access, equal rights, and equal opportunity to reflect the equal value they bring to the table. 

So, what can you do? There are so many little things you can do to help advocate for women in your daily life: model appropriate behaviour, challenge gender stereotypes, support female colleagues and friends, and celebrate women's successes. Fight for fairness in the workplace, vote for politicians who prioritize the issues, and donate to or volunteer with organizations who strive to level the playing field. Do some research about women's movements both at home and abroad, and get involved with the ones that speak to you. 

Here at Steven Tito Academy, we believe that one of the best ways to close the gender gap and improve the status of women is through education. We are determined to provide bright, young girls from poor families with access to safe, quality education and all of the opportunities that accompany it. The benefits are innumerable for both the individual and the community, with UNICEF even calling girls' education "a lifeline to development."  

If you'd like to commemorate IWD by supporting a girl's education and improving her chances in life, visit our sponsorship page or send us a message to learn more. No matter what you choose to do today, at the very least take some time to wish the women in your life a happy International Women's Day, and thank them for all they've done to make the world a better place.

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