International Women’s Day is an event that serves to celebrate the extraordinary power of women and the vital role that women play in our society and around the world. Each year the UN decides a theme for International Women’s Day and this year’s theme is Leave no woman behind examining the important role that women play in humanitarian and natural disaster planning and response.
It is my belief that it is incredibly important to acknowledge the impact that disasters, both natural and humanitarian, have on women and girls, and how women play a key role in risk reduction, rebuilding, rehabilitation and peace processes and the terrible consequences when women and girls are not given the same opportunities as men and boys.
A figure I found heartbreaking: women and children are 14 times more likely to die or be injured in the wake of a natural disaster. During the Boxing Day tsunami in 2005, a hard lesson was learnt. Many girls didn’t know how to climb trees and boys did. Because of this, more boys survived the devastation. It really highlighted to me how gendered roles and actions can mean the difference between life and death. I remember after this disaster reading about the incredible actions of Tilly Smith, a 10 year old British girl, recognised the early signs of the incoming tsunami and was able to warn her parents who alerted hotel staff. Her warning allowed scores of people to be cleared from the Maikhao beach in Phuket. It really highlighted to me how valuable good female education is in all parts of the world.
During times of conflict, women and girls are in serious danger, whether due to rape, forced marriage, or neglect because boys and men are considered more valuable. Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani activist for female education and advocate for human rights, shows me the power of women to fight back during conflict for equality, education and safety. She reminds me of the inspiring strength and resilience that women have to keep fighting for our rights.
Loulaki Blue is a company owned and operated primarily by women. We are proud to be a member of WEConnect, which connects women-owned enterprises to suppliers. I am so proud to work for a company that empowers women to thrive and gives me such incredible opportunities to work with such inspirational women. We live in a time where it is increasingly important to recognise and acknowledge the power and empowerment of women.
This International Women’s Day, we need to re the vital role that women play in making our society a safer, happier, forward-moving, and better place. Let’s always remember the women who came before us to improve our lives and the women who will come after us. Let’s leave no woman behind.