Gender equality and women’s empowerment is ingrained within BRAC, and thus International Women’s Day is a very important day for us. This year, BRAC’s head office and country offices celebrated the day by promoting ideas to create a more gender friendly world. According to Global Gender Gap Report 2017, it will take more than 200 years to achieve gender parity. This year’s theme was to “Press for Progress” to try and achieve gender parity before 200 years.
At the head office, we held discussions on the theme and talked about how far we have come from the pledges we made last year. We concluded the event with new pledges on how to continue pressing for progress.
BRAC Afghanistan celebrated International Women’s Day 2018 with great enthusiasm and festivity. An essay competition on the ‘Role of Afghan Women’ was organised where staff from all over the country participated. Female support staff were encouraged to share their feelings about the organisation and how it could be improved with the rest of their colleagues. Based on this discussion, BRAC Afghanistan decided to introduce a basic literacy course for them in coming months.
In BRAC Myanmar, each staff made a personal commitment on how, in the future, he/she will contribute to “press for progress”, promoting women empowerment and gender equality. All personal commitments have been collected and will be placed in the office lobby as a reminder for everyone.
BRAC Tanzania had a two-day-long celebration of International Women’s Day with girls from the Accelerated Learning Process project. The celebrations started with an awareness session to the girls conducted by Mary Stopes Tanzania on the importance of family planning education. In the Tanga region, 800 girls and staff marched from the Regional Commissioners’ Office to Kange public grounds, holding banners of this year’s theme. The girls later performed several entertainment activities including traditional dances and a choir.
BRAC Nepal celebrated International Women’s Day at Mathurapati Fulbari of Namo Buddha Municipality with Empowerment and Livelihood for Adolescents (ELA) club members and female community health volunteers. The event started with a welcome speech from the three ward chairpersons, and BRAC Nepal’s country representative. It was followed by a drama performed by club members on the harmful effects of child marriage. Then, the female community health volunteers sang a song about ending violence against women.
Lastly, BRAC Uganda celebrated International Women’s Day through various activities. ELA girls, alongside their donors, GOAL and Standard Chartered Bank, organised a day of events with this year’s theme in mind. They had a march from the National Monument to UMA Show grounds where the ELA girls performed dances, took part in a blood donation drive, and gave their testimonials about their journeys in ELA and the difference it had made in their lives.
The event ended with a documentary showcasing the stories of multiple clients, and a cake cutting ceremony.