Harnessing the power of words to empower women in the
French-speaking developing world
International Women’s Day 2015
March 7, 2015
According to the Head of UN Women, we are still far from reaching gender equality. I tend to repeat this over and over again but I honestly believe that education is fundamental to instill the notions of equality and equity in boys and girls at a very young age. If they grow up understanding that men and women are equal they will not be tempted to question this principle in their personal and professional lives.
The promotion of gender equality is a process that goes bottom-up. Governments and international organizations need to translate words into action. Change doesn’t happen overnight but we have been waiting for a while now! In France, the gender parity law was adopted in 2000 (loi sur la parité) to impose equal representation of women in the political sphere. But women still earn about 20% less than men, they are hardly given the opportunity to lead major companies.
I have been and I am still fortunate to work with dedicated, intelligent, hard-working women working in the nonprofit sector to improve the plight of females throughout the world so that they can live healthier lives, become independent and thrive. Their advocacy and activities will have lasting effects for female social advancement if governments impose gender equality through coercive legislations. So the struggle goes on and we have to keep on speaking on behalf of the voiceless as these organizations whose commitment and work enlighten and inspire me: