International Women's Day on the 8th March is a chance to celebrate and call for change.
"To be truly transformative, the post-2015 development agenda must prioritize gender equality and women’s empowerment. The world will never realize 100 per cent of its goals if 50 per cent of its people cannot realize their full potential."UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
At Find Your Feet we focus on the women who don't have a voice in their communities.
We help them gain the confidence and knowledge they need to speak out against injustice, providing them with the power to change their situation.
Across our projects in India, International Women's Day is an opportunity to bring women and their communities together to highlight key issues, and provide a forum for women to raise their voice.
This year there will be many discussions around gender equality. To the women we work with, this means not prioritising a son over a daughter in terms of food, education and opportunities. It means women shouldn't be deprived from decision making but should believe they have their own voice and identity in the society.
We are now seeing more and more women in our projects sending their daughters to the school so they can learn to demand for their rights and speak out.
By bringing the women together it also provides the opportunity for our project teams to share information about government services such as healthcare, which many of the women will have no awareness about at all. Government officials are invited to events so that women can share their challenges of accessing services and advocate for those they are entitled to.
Our work with women helps communities like Najibunisa's (pictured in orange).
Her local women's group in Chhattisgarh, India, have managed to advocate for electricity in their village.
"Before we were not sitting properly and talking to each other about our issues. Now every month we meet. Before there was no electricity so with the help of the project we advocated for electricity. We learnt that we needed to signatures from all of the villages and to submit an application to get electricity. And at the end of 2012 we got electricity! We had to come together for this to happen, the project helped us by updating us on information and explaining the process, and helping us to apply."
Having electricity has made a huge difference to Najibunisa's village. Now in the summer they can use fans to help reduce the risk of mosquitoes and malaria and children can read books in the evening so they can prepare for school. They can also use water pumps for irrigation so they can improve their land and grow more food.
On International Women's Day, let's celebrate women like Najibunsia who has brought real change to her community helping to improve the future for her daughter and future generations.
Find out more about International Women’s Day.
Hear more stories from the women Find Your Feet works with.