Empowering women today, and every day

By Azka Asif, Rotary Service and Engagement staff 

Today, International Women’s Day, is a time to celebrate the progress that’s been made in gender equality and women’s empowerment, and to call for continued action.

The Sustainable Development Goals number 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls; and number 4: Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning — are focused on promoting gender equality and education for all. We are living in a changing world, and that poses new opportunities as well as challenges for women. Check out these facts you should know about women in the evolving workplace.

The United Nations is calling on everyone to accelerate the 2030 Agenda by investing in girls and women. Below are some ways Rotary members are supporting the key targets of the 2030 Agenda.


By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education.

By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and preprimary education so that they are ready for primary education.

  • The Rotary Club of Ankleshwar is surrounded by rural and tribal villages in the Bharuch District of Gujarat State, India. The literacy rate in these villages is low and dropout rates of students in primary schools are high, particularly among girls. Rotary members went door to door in 55 villages to meet with parents to convince them to send their girls to school. Their efforts are helping 130 young women complete their secondary schooling, and will continue to support those students pursuing higher education. Read more.
  • In Nigeria, a university president and local Rotary clubs are fighting Boko Haram by educating and feeding victims. Margee Ensign, president of the American University in Nigeria, arrived in Yola in 2010, and found herself amidst efforts to help hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing attacks in the north. Learn more about the role education plays in conflict areas.


End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere.

Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation.

Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation.

  • The Rotarian Action Group Against Slavery (RAGAS) is working to free children and locals from slavery. Four hundred villagers live near Varanasi in India, 132 of them are in debt bondage slavery working on slaveholders’ brick kilns, farm and construction projects. Children are forced to work alongside their parents. RAGAS is working with anti-slavery organizations to provide education, food and ultimately free this enslaved village. Learn more about RAGAS and the work they do.
  • Recognizing the desperate need for domestic-violence services in their communities, Rotary clubs throughout Australia and New Zealand started fundraising and partnering with charities to raise awareness and work on prevention and victim support. Read more.

These are just a few examples of the many projects and initiatives Rotary members undertake to empower women and girls around the world. We want to hear from you! Share how your club or district is promoting gender equality in the comments below.

Watch three amazing Rotary women discussing the power and role women have in changing the world. Follow #IWD2017 on social media to share the work you are doing and join the global conversation.

5 thoughts on “Empowering women today, and every day

  1. Most adolescent girls who hit puberty in India suffer from nutritional deficiencies and other health issues due to lack of healthy and hygienic practices during their menstruation. Though only 18% women in India have access to a proper sanitary napkin, there is a major population that follows the age old customs and continues to use unhygienic cloth during periods. The state of small villages and tribal communities is appalling where awareness is almost non-existent and needs education as the practices followed by women leads to contraction of serious infections and sometimes even proves fatal for young girls.

    To address this situation Rotary Club of Bombay, District 3141 and Johnson & Johnson’s leading sanitary napkin brand ‘Stayfree’ have come together through FREEDOM FOR GIRLS – Project KHUSHI, to spread awareness amongst the adolescent girls between the age group of 13 to 15 (standard 8 to 10) in the tribal and slum areas of Jawahar, Palghar, Dahanu, Shahapur and also in the slum areas of Mumbai. Their objective is to source high quality, low cost sanitary pads and donate them in these area with one year’s supply, so they can have access to safe and hygienic sanitation during their menstruation ad experience the benefits of using them. This project will also help them realise the benefits of using sanitary pads and how its helps in maintain good health.

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