International Women’s Day is celebrated globally every year on March 8th. This day acknowledges women for their contribution in Social, Economic, Cultural and Political achievements; as well as appreciates and honors women for their innate ability to nurture the very fabric of human society.
First and foremost, it is a call to action to support girls and young women in self-actualizing their inner power – to truly leapfrog women’s empowerment. Organisations and individuals, both men and women around the world, consciously reconfirm their commitment to acknowledge, support and motivate women, including young girls, to see themselves at an equal footing within the society, to be ambitious to achieve their highest potential, and to create a dignified persona.
The achievement, of the United Nations ambitious Sustainable Development Goals, requires transformative shifts, integrated approaches and new solutions, particularly when it comes to advancing gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.
Based on current trajectories, existing interventions will not suffice to achieve a Planet 50-50 by 2030. Innovative approaches that disrupt “business as usual” are central to removing structural barriers and ensuring that no woman and no girl is left behind.
Within our own history, Imams have time and time again emphasized equal rights for women. In his message to thelsmailia Women’s Association in March 1953, Imam Sultan Mohamed Shah says:
“Noprogressive thinker of today will challenge the claim that the social advancement and general well-being of communities are greatest where women are least debarred, by artificial barriers and narrow prejudice, from taking their full position as citizens.
The progressive modernization which depends on co-operation and understanding will be impossible unless women are permitted to play their legitimate part in the great work of national regeneration on a basis of political equality”.
Empowering girls and women is powerful. It is the key to economic growth, political stability, and social transformation. Women constitute nearly 50% of the Jamat and all of us have a part to play in the sustainability, growth and progress of our Jamat.
This progress will be swifter if each one of us, men, women and children become leaders within our own sphere of influence, to support women to advance and unleash their limitless potential; be it in education, health, leadership or financial independence. We must all STEP UP and commit ourselves by taking bold action that will not only bridge the gap for women, but will also further the progress of our Jamat.
The gender gap can only be bridged through concerted efforts by both,men and women. Within our Council, the institutions are working tirelessly towards the development of our women. However, that is not enough. It is important to remember that a man’s involvement in every family is crucial in removing social and cultural barriers for girls and women. Not only do these inequalities affect girls and women individually, they also hold back the development of the full potential of the family.
Equity between men and women has to prevail. It is a part of our Ethic. It is in our power to ensure that the evolving generations are empowered with the ability to fully contribute and achieve the human society’s full potential.
Let us consciously hold ourselves responsible, both men and women, and work proactively to achieve this.
Ya Ali Madad.