The 1st for Women Foundation was established in 2005 with one objective: to uplift and empower the women of South Africa.
To date, the Foundation has donated over R40 million to a number of women-related charity organisations that focus on two main causes: gender-based violence and cervical cancer.
Thanks to our customers who donate a portion of their monthly insurance premium to the Foundation, we have made a tangible and sustainable difference to the lives of thousands of South African women. This difference is testament to the collective power of women.
Every two minutes a woman dies of cervical cancer worldwide. That’s a frightening statistic. What’s even more frightening is that her death could have been avoided as cervical cancer is a preventable disease.
Here are the facts:
- Cervical cancer is second only to breast cancer in frequency amongst women worldwide, and the most frequent cancer in South Africa among women between the ages of 15 and 44.
- One in 35 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer in her lifetime.
- Despite being a preventable disease, and curable if detected and treated in its early stages, it is the leading cause of cancer deaths in South African women, with over 3 400 women dying every year from cervical cancer
- Infection with high-risk human papilloma virus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection, is the underlying cause of most cases of cervical cancer, with HPV types 16 and 18 causing about 70% of all cervical cancers.
- About 21% of women in the general South African population are estimated to harbour a cervical HPV infection at a given time.
The 1st for Women Foundation’s Cervical Cancer Programme was developed in 2010 with the following objectives: reducing the incidence of cervical cancer; reducing the incidence of HPV infection; developing a model for intervention (both in screening and vaccinations); and creating awareness among girls and women about HPV and cervical cancer. The Foundation supports two organisations that focus on cervical cancer screening and prevention: the HPV Cervical Cancer Research Fund and Right to Care.
Through these organisations we have provided over 4600 pap smears to women in extremely rural areas and provided early treatment for over 100 of these women.
Our message is simple: before every South African girl is sexually active, she should have the series of HPV injections. We also encourage every sexually active woman to have an annual pap smear. Regular pap smear tests are the most effective way of detecting cervical abnormalities. Detecting these abnormal cells early with a pap smear is your first step in halting the possible development of cervical cancer.
READ OUR CERVICAL CANCER FACTSHEET
In a country known as the rape capital of the world, gender-based violence is a shocking reality for so many South African women.
Gender-based violence is a violation of human rights and a form of discrimination. It is defined as violence that is directed against a person on the basis of gender.
It is difficult to distinguish between different types of violence since they are not mutually exclusive. That said, gender-based violence includes:
- domestic violence, sexual harassment, rape, sexual violence during conflict and harmful customary or traditional practices such as female genital mutilation, forced marriages and honour crimes;
- trafficking in women, forced prostitution and violations of human rights in armed conflict (in particular murder, systematic rape, sexual slavery and forced pregnancy);
- forced sterilisation, forced abortion, coercive use of contraceptives, female infanticide and prenatal sex selection.
Between March 2010 and March 2011, seven women were murdered every day in South Africa, half of them by their intimate partners. In the same period 247 women were assaulted every day and 154 women raped.
READ OUR GENDER BASED VIOLENCE FACTSHEET
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Regular pap smears can help prevent up to 90% of the most common type of cervical cancer. With this in mind, sexually active woman are advised to have a pap smear on an annual basis.
Do you go for annual pap smears? If not, why?