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We invest in women 365 days of the year.

Gender equality is the greatest human rights challenge. Here's why. 

04 Mar 2024

“If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again!” – Sojourner Truth, anti-slavery abolitionist

We are standing on the shoulders of those who have come before us, the women who paved the way for our potential. From our founder Mary Sumner to Rosa Parks to Emmeline Pankhurst to Sojourner Truth, these women reclaimed their stories, giving hope to generations of women and girls to come.

But we know we’re not there yet.

The United Nations (UN)  has stated that gender equality is the greatest human rights challenge.

The latest figures report that…

  1. Since Covid-19 and increasing conflicts around the world, 75 million more people have fallen into severe poverty since 2020. If we do not act fast enough, over 342 million women and girls will be living in poverty by 2030.
  2. Devastating conflicts around the world mean that since 2022, the number of women and girls living in fragile contexts has reached 614 million – doubling since 2017.
  3. Less than 1% of the world’s women live in a country with high women’s empowerment and high gender parity.

In a world where feminist organisations receive only 0.13% of official development assistance, we are at the forefront of ensuring women are centre stage in leadership and communities right around the world.

For us at Mothers’ Union, International Women’s Day isn’t just a date in the diary. As a global, women-led movement with over four million members, we’re a powerful force for good in homes, workplaces and churches all year around.

We invest in women, 365 days of the year.

Since 1876, we’ve been present in thousands of communities around the corner and around the world. And at its heart, we’ve been building up and supporting women to make the change they want to see possible.

Our literacy classes in Burundi have been transforming lives for over twenty years. To put that into numbers, over 144,000 individuals can now read and write,. Of the 144,000 members, 89% of them are women. But the benefits go far beyond literacy training. Thanks to these programmes, we’ve seen that 96% of attendees can now afford health insurance, and 88% of female participants have seen an increase in their income. Critically, 98% now have improved self-esteem, breaking the cycle of shame and stigma that so easily disempowers due to illiteracy. Not only that, but members of these literacy and also savings groups are now able to use their smartphones for their own businesses, just another way they are lifting themselves out of poverty.

Meanwhile across Britian and Ireland, in 2023 we launched RISE UP, our campaign standing against domestic abuse. We’ve raised awareness throughout the membership, from living rooms to cathedrals as we stand with survivors and inspire others to take action with us. Members took to the streets in York on a protest march, while others exhibited ‘The Souls of our Shoes’ exhibition in huge cathedrals, a physical representation of the journey survivors take in finding freedom from domestic abuse.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg. From providing menstrual products in war-torn refugee camps to setting up microfinance savings groups in Rwanda to providing hospital visits in small villages, we are collectively making a world of a difference.

Together, we continue to work for a world where gender equality is a reality, women’s rights are upheld and progress is accelerated.

Today, and every day.