Posted on Monday, March 19, 2018

Together, we are changing the world

A recent study of 400 children showed that girls as young as six believe that boys and men are more likely to have ‘genius’ than girls and women. How do girls this young have such low confidence and such a prejudicial view of themselves? The researchers speculate it comes from several sources, including the media, parents, teachers, and other children.

If girls and women are held back, it hurts everyone. Research shows that when women are uplifted and empowered, their families, communities, countries, and the world at large benefit and move forward. As such, we should do everything in our power to address what could be holding women back.

We know that woman and child abuse play a major role in gender inequality. Think of the woman in an abusive relationship who feels she can’t leave because she has hungry young mouths to feed, but is financially dependent on her partner. She may feel trapped with no way to improve her financial situation so she can leave.

The reality is, you probably know someone who is, or has been, in a similar situation. You may be the one in this situation.

Physical and sexual violence are prevalent in our country. Many girls and boys see and experience abuse daily in the home, at school, and in public. With this behaviour normalised for so many children, it’s no wonder the abuse cycle continues.

This may paint a bleak view of the future, but we want you to know the future is bright. As Oprah movingly said in her Golden Globe Awards speech: ‘A new day is on the horizon and when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women…and some pretty phenomenal men.’

When women work together, we can do powerful things.

The actions of women, no matter how small, can make a huge difference in others’ lives. Think of the recent #metoo and #timesup avalanche still rumbling through Hollywood. Sexual and physical abuse against women is, for the first time in history, being addressed head-on, and women aren’t accepting anything less than total transformation.

And it all began with something seemingly small and simple: a Tweet.

As a company, we’re leading the way for women and men to stand up against abuse. To date, we’ve raised R56million through the 1st for Women Foundation, where we focus on fighting woman abuse.

At our recent Sisters with Blisters protest walks in Durban and Johannesburg, we raised R80,000 and R270,000 respectively for various charities that help abused women and children:

The Centre for Community Justice and Development (CCJD): This organisation helps people in rural areas get legal advice and counselling about domestic violence and child abuse.

Lawyers against Abuse: This non-profit gives victims of sexual and domestic violence and child abuse free legal and psychosocial support.

Women and Men against Child Abuse: Committed to ending child abuse in South Africa, this organisation works to break the silence on sexual abuse of children.

We also recently launched ForWomen, a platform that consolidates woman-abuse fighting efforts in one place. It’s structured to holistically address abuse through three pillars: prevention, preparation, and provision. Any woman in South Africa, regardless of who or where she is, can get help if she’s in an abusive situation. And any woman, man, or organisation can give help to women who need it.

When women work together, we can be anything.

There are many other organisations, locally and internationally, that are committed to advancing women’s rights in the workplace.

RMB’s Athena has made bold steps to invest in young women, empower them in the workplace, and place them in deserved leadership positions.

Similarly, with the knowledge that women are more confident and can accomplish more when they work together to achieve a common goal, Lean In Circles are growing in number and success around the globe.

When women work together, we are unstoppable.

It’s these support systems among colleagues, family, and friends that give women the space for them to be their best and most authentic selves, and speak their truth.

In her Golden Globes speech, Oprah also said ‘What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.’ It’s this truth that gives you, us, and all women – across all cultures, geography, race, and workplace – the inspiration for other women to be empowered to speak their truth, too.

Only together can we bring about a gender-equal world in the home, at work, and in society.

To learn more about what 1st for Women is doing to stop woman abuse and how together, our collective actions can create the most powerful change the world has ever seen, click through to ForWomen and the 1st for Women Foundation.


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