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Friday, December 18th, 2009 - 4 comments

La Femme: The key to development and progress

Many international non-governmental organizations focus on the empowerment and progress of women. Here are some of the most relevant ones.

On this past International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women 2009, I was reflecting upon the international non-governmental organizations that focus on the empowerment of women as social change agents.

The Global Fund for Women website indicates “We are part of a global women’s movement that is rooted in a commitment to justice and an appreciation of the value of women’s experience. The challenges women face vary widely across communities, cultures, religions, traditions and countries. We believe that women should have a full range of choices, and that women themselves know best how to determine their needs and propose solutions for lasting change. The way in which we do our work is as important as what we do. This philosophy is reflected in our flexible, respectful and responsive style of grantmaking.”

The United Nations Fund dedicated to the advancement of women’s rights and gender equality UNIFEM “provides financial and technical assistance to innovative programmes and strategies that foster women’s empowerment. UNIFEM works on the premise that it is the fundamental right of every woman to live a life free from discrimination and violence, and that gender equality is essential to achieving development and to building just societies.”

Similarly, the Hunger Project is committed to empowering women as key change agents as “women bear almost all responsibility for meeting basic needs of the family, yet are systematically denied the resources, information and freedom of action they need to fulfill this responsibility.”

Two of eleven global health strategies at the world’s largest private Foundation – the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are focused on women – maternal, neonatal, and child health, and family Planning.

Furthermore, one of the primary objectives of Muhammad Yunus of the famed Grameen Bank (the icon for micro credit) when he established the bank in the 1980s was to “bring the disadvantaged, mostly the women from the poorest households, within the fold of an organizational format which they can understand and manage by themselves.”

It strikes me that some of the largest international NGOs focusing their efforts on women illustrates the importance of empowering women. This blog, too, addresses women as a central to development. I wonder, are women the key to addressing the many global challenges we are facing that this blog has addressed: the economic meltdown and women; poverty and AIDS; youth love and sexuality; motherhood and human rights; climate change and women?

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The views expressed in this blog-post are solely those of the author.

Comments (4)

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Friday 18th December, 2009, 9:39pm

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Monday 21st December, 2009, 2:25pm

Hey Tanya
Great article! I have always been a firm believer in Women's Rights and the importance of empowerment of women. In our religion( Islam ) I have always read that women are a key role to the household and economic value and to their children and their education. Women take on many roles they are daughters, wives, mothers. We nurture children from conception to birth and beyond, we educated them and teach them and nourish them in the womb. If we ourselves are not educated how can we expect a better future as the children won't be educated.
I know one of the Goals the U.N has I believe is to educate and empower women and I do hope to see these goals achieved sometime in my lifetime sooner rather then later.

Pauline Fogarty
Tuesday 22nd December, 2009, 7:42pm

Hi Tanya,

Great blog. I really appreciate the importance of ending violence against women. It is also interesting that you have cited the importance of women being instrumental in this process. That's the route to change for sure!

Merry Christmas,


Monday 4th January, 2010, 1:31pm

HI Tanya

Thanks for the great article. The struggle for equality continues...

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Guest Editor

Tanya Rumble

Health Promoter, Halton Public Health


Tanya Rumble is a public policy professional committed to creating social change, with demonstrated project management and knowledge brokering experience in the government relations; public health; non-profit; public administration; and research sectors. She incorporates her diverse upbringing in the United Arab Emirates, and travels to over 60 countries in her work. Tanya posses technical expertise in the areas of Health Promotion, Public Health, and Integrated Marketing Communication for Behavioural Impact (COMBI). She spent the month of July 2009 as a participant in the Integrated Marketing Communication for Behavioural Impact (COMBI) in Health & Social Development certificate program at New York University in collaboration with the World Health Organization, and was a member of the Winning COMBI Plan Team. Her current professional positions include Project Manager-Healthy Weights Halton Takes Action at Halton Region Health Department; Executive Member at Health Promotion Ontario; Reviewer-Halton Peel Grant Review Team at Ontario Trillium Foundation; Consultant-Food For The Poor at Endeavour Volunteer Consulting For Non-Profits.

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