International Women’s Day 2018
Mother Jugbeh and Women across SOS Children’s Villages push for progress
SOS Children’s Villages is committed to empowering girls around the world, ensuring they have the opportunities, support and confidence to achieve their dreams. Crucial for this is giving girls role models – successful, inspiring and ambitious women who make a difference in the lives of children, families and the communities around them.
To commemorate International Women’s Day 2018, inspiring women from across SOS Children’s Villages told us how they, through their various roles in the organisation, are working to press for progress and achieve gender equality.
Dr Gitta Trauernicht, Vice-President, SOS Children’s Villages International
“As a global social development organisation for children, it is our particular responsibility to fight against all forms of gender-related discrimination so that girls and boys can grow into adults who can live independently and are socially aware.”
Dr. Gitta Trauernicht, Vice President of SOS Children’s Villages International
Children start absorbing the expected gender roles in early childhood, through their upbringing, and carry this with them throughout their lives. As a global social development organisation for children, it is our particular responsibility to fight against all forms of gender-related discrimination so that girls and boys can grow into adults who can live independently and are socially aware. Taking action on gender inequality opens up opportunities – for children at school, for young people starting their professional lives and for parents looking for ways to support and empower their families. This in turn strengthens the community.
In my role as Vice-President of SOS Children’s Villages International, I am proud to champion the topic of gender across the federation. I have met many inspiring women at SOS Children’s Villages and am passionate about listening to them. From girls challenging gender norms in their daily lives, to young women planning careers in non-traditional fields, to the many inspiring SOS mothers making a difference every day – I take action to ensure their voices are heard.
Olive Lumonya, National Director, SOS Children’s Villages Uganda
SOS Uganda, National Director Olivia Lumoya
“As we globally celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. I strongly believe that positive steps have been gained all over the world on issues of accelerating gender parity. … At SOS Children’s Villages Uganda, women have had a significant, positive impact, with hundreds of SOS mothers raising disadvantaged boys and girls who go onto to positively impact the world.”
As we globally celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. I strongly believe that positive steps have been gained all over the world on issues of accelerating gender parity. However, the journey still has a long way to go, and more commitment, focus and determination is required from both women and men to enable environments where women flourish. I believe polices have been put in place and more are being debated, but we need to focus on implementation and impact. At SOS Children’s Villages Uganda, women have had a significant, positive impact, with hundreds of SOS mothers raising disadvantaged boys and girls who go onto to positively impact the world.
I myself am a proud beneficiary of the journey for gender parity. I represented the young women from Uganda to the World Women’s Conference in Beijing in 1995, and I was chairperson for the Commonwealth Youth Programme Africa region. I have participated in a number of forums for the advancement of women, and I have used this vast experience to have an impact on SOS Children’s Villages Uganda. We are running programmes at SOS Children’s Villages which address the gender gap. I have offered career talks to girls and women, and I have served on several government, private and NGO boards where I have advocated for gender parity.
The magic that will positively trigger change the world over is enshrined in the empowerment of women in the various roles including leadership, politics, business, environment, corporate and social services. I believe the world will be a better place. At SOS Children’s Villages Uganda, we have impacted the lives of children through women, supporting more than 60,000 children over our 25 years of existence.
Nancy Gicheru, SOS mother, SOS Children’s Villages Buru Buru, Kenya
“In my house, I tell my children that we are a family and we all help each other regardless of gender. A boy can do the cooking and a girl can scrub the verandas. While a very simple concept, it is quite an instrumental and monumental opportunity because these children will grow up to be the leaders of tomorrow. It is important they carry this diversity of thought into their workplaces and other community spaces to promote equality of the genders.”
Jumana Abu-Hannoud, Managing Director, Gulf Area Office, SOS Children’s Villages International, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
“Gender equality is necessary for social and economic sustainability. Empowered women and mothers are strong role models for children, they inspire girls to be confident and independent and raise boys who are respectful of the role of women, growing up to be empowering to others.”
Kistie Singh, Village Director, SOS Children’s Villages British Columbia, Canada
“It’s crucial that we demonstrate to our young kids that men and women are all able to achieve and succeed in life regardless of their gender. … I can show the children and young people that as a woman I am able to lead, and that they can too.”
Tugbeh , SOS mother, SOS Children’s Villages, Liberia
Several resolutions to protect women’s rights have been passed globally, which has opened up broader avenues for the growth and development of women in our society. But until men sees women as partners not as house help the struggle will continue. Society should appreciate the role of women as a daughter, a wife, a mother and a homemaker. Though our voices go unheard, our rights are dominated and our tears go unnoticed but we will not give up. Even though, there are millions of women around the world who are either speechless or are struggling hard to secure their rights. But our contribution to society should never go unnoticed.