|Sunday, March 8th marks International Women’s Day (IWD), which is recognized in many countries around the world as well as by the United Nations.
This year’s theme is I am Generation Equality, but the fact is that women’s equality remains a dream in many countries where cultural and religious traditions often curtail the opportunities of girls and women for education and employment, deny them legal equality, and condone physical and sexual violence.
One out of five girls globally is married as a child (before the age of 18) and 200 million women and girls alive today have been subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM). Thousands of women still die annually in honour killings (and official numbers are almost certainly too low). Even in parts of the world where honour killing is not practised, thousands of women may be trafficked or murdered. As reported in the March issue of Harper’s Magazine, Mexico has been plagued by a spate of horrific cases of femicide, most of them unsolved.
Having the right to determine whether and when to have children is central to a woman’s ability to set her own course in life, yet over 232 million women globally who don’t want to have a child (or another child) aren’t using birth control. Closing this gap is the objective of the UN and of many national governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
One of these NGOs is Marie Stopes International (MSI), among the most effective, full-range family planning organizations operating in the developing world. MSI receives a substantial part of Canada’s foreign aid for family planning.
Despite Canada endorsing MSI through its financial support, the Canada Revenue Agency doesn’t recognize it as a “foreign donee, “ which would enable Canadians to make tax-creditable donations to it. However, thanks to MSI’s partnership with KBF-Canada, part of the King Baudouin Foundation international philanthropic network, Canadians can now support MSI’s work in the Sahel (Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, and Senegal) and make a tax-creditable donation. Please visit the MSI page on PIC’s website to find out how you can support women in a part of the world where reproductive choice is urgently needed.