#IWD 2017 Celebrating International women's day

Wednesday, March 8 is International Women’s Day, when we celebrate achievements toward gender equality and women’s empowerment around the world.

The U.S. Agency for International Development is using this time to raise awareness of issues that uplift women globally – economic empowerment, healthcare, food security, education and more.

This toolkit is designed to help you recognize the global gender gap and increase awareness and support for women’s economic empowerment on #IWD2017. Please use this opportunity to highlight the valuable work your Mission and partners are doing on behalf of women.

If you plan to host a special event or activity in support of International Women’s Day, please send a note to Amy Condra, Communications Specialist for the Office of Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment Communications Specialist, at acondra@usaid.gov.

We’d love to promote your activities, see your photographs and share the work of your mission as inspiration for others.

Thank you for participating in this outreach activity!

Social Media

Use the following Twitter handles, hashtags and sample tweets to improve the reach of your messages

Twitter Hashtags

  • #IWD2017
  • #InternationalWomensDay
  • #womensday

For amplification opportunities, follow these Twitter handles:

Sample Tweets

Before #IWD2017 (February 27 to March 7)

  • Ready for #InternationalWomensDay next week? Visit our storytelling hub to see how women & men uplift their families: stories.usaid.gov
  • Who inspires you? Reply back with your hero & meet our female heroes on the USAID storytelling hub: stories.usaid.gov
  • USAID empowers girls & women across the globe! Watch Twitter next week for some of our stories in honor of #IWD2017

International Women’s Day (March 8)

Tweets to personalize

  • In [NAME OF COUNTRY], we uplift women through [NAME OF ACTIVITY or PROJECT] on #IWD2017 & every day. Meet them at [LINK or UPLOAD PHOTO of PROJECT]
  • Example: In Jordan, we uplift girls through education on #IWD2017 & every day. Meet them at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E80oC6h6UWo
  • We’re inspired by [NAME of BENEFICIARY], a [MOM/TEACHER/LEADER] changing her [FAMILY/COMMUNITY/COUNTRY]. Her story on #IWD2017: [LINK]
  • Example: We’re inspired by Maha, a teacher who wants all girls to have a chance to learn. Her story on #IWD2017: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E80oC6h6UWo

General tweets

Sample images to use with your Tweets

Sample images to use in various media

Photos hosted in USAID Flickr accounts

USAID Flickr albums

Feed the Future

Feed the Future & Women

USAID Asia

Today's Girls, Tomorrow's Future

Maasai ‘Mamas’ Turn on the Light

Sample Facebook posts

Some suggested posts in support of International Women’s Day

Posts to personalize

  • In recognition of International Women’s Day, see how [NAME OF COUNTRY] uplifts women and girls through [NAME OF ACTIVITY or PROJECT]. Join USAID in celebrating their success by sharing this story on your Facebook feed today!
  • Example: In recognition of International Women’s Day, we're inspired by Maha, a teacher in Jordan who wants all girls to have a chance to learn.Join USAID in celebrating their success by sharing this story on your Facebook feed today! [LINK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E80oC6h6UWo]
  • We’re inspired by [NAME of BENEFICIARY], a [MOM/TEACHER/LEADER] changing her [FAMILY/COMMUNITY/COUNTRY]. Share her story on International Women’s Day. [LINK]

Example: In Jordan, we uplift girls through education on #IWD2017 & every day. Meet them at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E80oC6h6UWo

General posts

  • Gender equality and women’s empowerment are at the ❤️of our work at USAID. Learn more about our efforts in more than 80 countries on International Women’s Day. https://www.usaid.gov/international-womens-day
  • Investing in gender equality and women’s empowerment can unlock human potential on a transformational scale. Learn about USAID’s efforts to make sure women around the world are able to reach their full potential. #InternationalWomensDay [ADD GRAPHIC]
  • Today, we celebrate International Women’s Day and commemorate the achievements of women and girls across the world. When women and girls are educated and can earn an income, infant mortality declines, child health and nutrition improve, agricultural productivity rises, population growth slows, economies expand, and cycles of poverty are broken. #IWD2017 [ADD GRAPHIC]
  • "When women become independent financially... they are brave in making decisions for themselves, for the children, for the family and for the whole society.” Watch the inspiring story of one Cambodian working to make a difference for women in her country: https://youtu.be/DgkwSCR-P_E

Sample images to use with your Facebook posts

Instagram USAID is planning to share a series showcasing women aid workers on Instagram during the week of International Women’s Day. Follow the account for amplification opportunities.

POTENTIAL #IWD2017 ACTIVITIES

  • Invite staff in your mission or bureau to join Women@AID. Sign-up here.
  • Host a book club meetup where the books of discussion are centered on women’s empowerment. Or, join the Bungee Book Club, sponsored by E3 and Women@AID, for an opportunity to grow personally and professionally.
  • Plan a volunteer meetup at a local women’s shelter.
  • Create an email blast with information about International Women’s Day. Find helpful information here.
  • Host a “brown bag” lunch gathering for Mission staff. Discussion can center on International Women’s Day and what your Mission is doing to address women’s economic empowerment and close the labor market gender gap in your host country.
  • Invite stakeholders to a roundtable discussion on the challenges they face in promoting changes in the workplace and labor market vis-à-vis closing the gender gap and integrating women into leadership roles. Key points should be collected and reported out to Mission staff for consideration for future programming and policy discussions.
  • Encourage your Twitter and Facebook followers to write a blog post on Medium about what they would like to achieve in terms of career opportunities and how they see opportunities for #IWD2017.

Resources

Infographics

Photo Essays

Statistics

Below are facts and information in regard to women’s empowerment around the world.

  • Women make up nearly 52 percent of all people living with HIV worldwide.
  • When women own the same amount of land as men, crop yields increase 10 percent.
  • When 10 percent more girls go to school, a country’s GDP increases by 3 percent on average.
  • Each extra year of a mother’s education reduces the probability of infant mortality by 5 - 10 percent.
  • Women comprise only 18.9 percent of the world’s legislators.
  • Countries where women's share of seats in political bodies is greater than 30 percent are more inclusive, egalitarian and democratic.
  • A woman is 21 percent less likely than a man to own a phone in the developing world.

Videos

Regional Stories

Below you will find information submitted for #IWD2017 by USAID and implementing partners about progress in women's economic empowerment, equality in land ownership and access to credit, women working in STEM fields, maternal and reproductive health services, and women’s political participation.

AFRICA

Ghana

Mary Anabila – An epitome of Women Empowerment

Mary Anabila sitting on her tractor. Photo credit: ADVANCE Project, Bolga office

As part of its efforts to improve the competitiveness of the maize, rice, and soybean value chains in northern Ghana, the USAID-funded Agricultural Development and Value Chain Enhancement (ADVANCE) II project provides project participants with matching grants to purchase farm equipment. Through the grant program, participants pay 30 percent of the equipment cost while ADVANCE II pays the remaining 70 percent.

Mostly men, however, access the matching grant scheme to purchase equipment such as power tillers, rotary weeders, donkey carts, reapers, tractors, and warehouses. In the community at large, men are traditionally the owners of such equipment. Given this, the project is especially proud of 58-year-old Mary Anabila, a project aggregator who raised $10,152 in July 2015 as the 30 percent leverage she needed to acquire a tractor. It is a great personal achievement for Mary and a positive step toward women’s empowerment for the project.

Usually, grantees pay their part of the leverage by accessing credit from financial institutions; Mary paid the leverage from profits she made from her aggregation business. She says she “decided to get a tractor to help provide timely ploughing for the smallholder farmers from whom I buy maize. When they get their fields ploughed early enough, they will be able to plant at the right time so that I can buy from them at the right time. The timely ploughing service can even let them increase their acreage so that I can get more grains to buy.”

Mary buys maize from 430 smallholder farmers (258 females, 172 males). She started working with ADVANCE in 2011 during the project’s first phase. “ADVANCE has opened my eyes to become more business minded. Now I know how to manage my business better. I am a widow but I can afford to buy anything I want to support my family. I advise all women to be hardworking in whatever they do so that they will become great in future,” remarks Mary.

As part of the project’s gender strategy, ADVANCE II is mainstreaming gender equity at all project levels. It continues to pursue equitable access to resources and works to ensure that women smallholder farmers especially increase their productivity and improve the well-being of their families. Mary is an outstanding example of this effort.

Power Africa

Blog: Power Africa celebrates women and girls in science

Daisy Karimi is a project engineer in the Kenya Electricity Transmission Company and co-founder of Strauss Energy.

Inspired by the “Sun Queen” who built the first house heated by solar energy in Massachusetts, women in Africa are accelerating electricity access through residential solar power. Power Africa’s Women in Africa Power is connecting even more girls in the energy sector!

Uganda

Empowering Women Energy Entrepreneurs

Betty Ikalany wins Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award

The Sustainable Development Goals recognize the importance of both gender equality and energy access, and while the two are often discussed separately, they are inextricably linked. Women are almost always the primary managers of household energy in developing countries and spend a significant portion of their time ensuring that their families have the energy needed to cook, light and heat their homes. Women can be economically empowered through their engagement in the household energy sector – as designers, producers, distributors and after-sales service providers. They can catalyze the market as clean energy entrepreneurs by leading efforts that seek to develop culturally-appropriate and sustainable solutions. However, they need support to be successful.

Winrock and USAID, under the Developing a Sustainable Cookstove Sector (DSCS) project, are providing innovative support to women entrepreneurs through Empowered Entrepreneur Training Programs (EETPs), based on the Empowered Entrepreneur Training Handbook curriculum. This unique program builds key business, empowerment and leadership skills for men and women. While results show positive impacts for both, the training is especially beneficial for women, who tend to have larger deficits to fill.

One of the EETP-certified Master Trainers is Betty Ikalany, the founder and CEO of Appropriate Energy Saving Technologies (AEST) in Uganda. “I have changed a lot. Because of this [training] I’m more confident and I’m able to speak. Most of the gatherings that I attend these days are dominated by men, and most times I find myself as either the only woman or among few women. I am happy to say that I can sit around the table with the [men] and talk on an equal basis,” Betty explains. “I am encouraging many women, especially CEOs and leaders of social enterprises, to also get skills from this curriculum. It helps to empower you, gives you the self-esteem, helps you to become confident, and you’re able to do your things, believing in yourself, and believing that what anyone else can do, you too can do if you have the support you need.”

Results to date include increased sales, improved sales strategies, greater staff retention and higher levels of promotion among entrepreneurs trained. The project has certified 47 trainers in 8 countries, who have trained over 500 entrepreneurs.

For Betty, the training has made it possible to excel as a woman in her field. Recently, at the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstove and wPower-hosted Women’s Energy Entrepreneurship Workshop in Kenya, Betty was presented with the first-ever Woman Entrepreneur of the Year award.

Read more about the EETP program, and Betty’s story.

ASIA

Bangladesh

Agricultural Successes

Blooming Business is a story about Sajeda, a flower farmer in Bangladesh who was able to transform her life by getting into the flower business after her husband fell off a tree and broke his back. Learn more about the Agricultural Value Chains (AVC) Program here.

Myanmar

Promoting Women's Rights

Khin Lay is promoting a new generation of female leaders in Myanmar, a country that is largely dominated by men.

While 51 percent of Myanmar’s population is female, a half century of military rule has relegated women to secondary status. Women are excluded from active military service and from many top political posts. They are rarely are accorded maternity leave. And they must score higher than men on tests to enter universities.

To foster change, Khin Lay’s nationally recognized Triangle Women’s Support Group is promoting women’s rights and women’s participation in democratic reforms. The group is working to prevent gender-based violence and is raising the public’s awareness about sexual assault, particularly involving under-aged girls.

With support from USAID Burma, Khin Lay is empowering women and strengthening women’s organizations in Myanmar.

In 2016, Myanmar’s The Voice Daily News named Khin Lay one of the country’s 10 most influential women, citing her efforts to press the Government of Myanmar to take action against sex offenders and people involved in gender-based violence.

RDMA

Making Strides in STEM

Dr. Worajit Setthapun, winner of 2016 ASEAN-U.S. Science Prize for Women to the Chiang Mai Green World City -- a living laboratory for renewable energy application and green technologies.

To amplify this story, tag the following: @Chiang Mai Rajabhat University, @U.S. Mission to ASEAN, @U.S.Consulate Chiang Mai

Photo: Learning New Skills

Bouakham Phimmavong, an unexploded ordnance survivor, enjoys learning new skills at a USAID-sponsored course at the Lao Disabled Women’s Development Center in Vientiane. Photo: Richard Nyberg, USAID

Download this and similar photos here

Mentoring Girls in STEM

My Bach connects with her mentor from Cisco in a WebEx meeting at the Celebrating Young Women in Technology Workshop. Thaniya Theungsang, USAID COMET

We encourage young women to pursue science and technology fields in the Lower Mekong and connect them to mentors. Read how women #scientists strengthen network in Lower #Mekong

Sri Lanka

Helping Smallholder Farmers

A “Semblance of Normalcy” in the Life of a Widow

Vinayamurthi Pushparani is many things to many people. Widowed at the age of 49, this mother, daughter, wife, farmer and breadwinner is everything to everyone under her care. The head of her household, Pushparani now lives in a remote village in one of the country’s worst conflict-affected northern districts with her mother and children.

She and her family were displaced from their home during the 26-year conflict. She also lost her eldest son in battle. The family returned home in 2010 but the joy of their home coming was overshadowed by the cancer that had developed in her husband. In their dilapidated home Pushparani cared for her sick husband until he died in 2010 while shouldering the entire burden of providing for her family.

A farmer, Pushparani turned to what she knew best. “I had no money but I had my land,” she says. Among other things they lost during the conflict was the well on their land which was a life source for the family. Starting from scratch, she planted string beans and chili, to get an income in a relatively short period. Later, she added vegetables and for six months she sustained her family on vegetables grown in her garden.

Pushparani used the income she made from the vegetables to renovate the well. “I wanted to grow red onions because I knew there was a good demand,” explains Pushparani. “I have to manage this farm on my own, so I need a crop like red onion that requires low maintenance and has a short crop cycle,” she says.

In December 2014, Pushparani became a beneficiary of the USAID- funded Supporting Opportunities in Livelihoods Development (SOLID) project which help increase the productivity and sustainability of smallholder farmers. She received 220kg of red onion seeds and a sprinkler irrigation system. With these inputs, she planted half an acre of red onion and harvested 950kg in her first harvest.

Despite crop damage due to heavy rain in May 2015, she has been able to harvest around 300kg of onion and make a profit close to $80 during harvest. She also saves a portion of the onion to replant. “I feel that the quality and size of the onions are better, and the production has increased since I started using the sprinklers. I think it’s because the sprinklers don’t wash away the nutrients in the soil,” says Pushparani.

Her expertise in farming has helped her to provide for her five children, and the support provided by SOLID has strengthened that expertise

USAID is helping increase economic opportunities for vulnerable women (including female-headed households, war widows, resettling families,) by improving traditional farming practices, ensuring food security, and increasing livelihood opportunities.

EUROPE AND EURASIA

Armenia

Women Entrepreneurs

Susanna Asatryan, Yeghegnadzor, Wine Tasting Hall

Recognizing the vital role women play as drivers of economic growth, USAID promotes Armenian women’s participation in the economy and helps unleash their potential in many areas that span from agribusiness and hospitality to textiles and IT.

Promoting women’s entrepreneurship in rural communities of Armenia is a special focus of two ongoing rural development projects funded by USAID – the Advanced Rural Development Initiative (ARDI) and the Partnerships fur Rural Prosperity (PRP) project. These projects target all the 10 marzes (provinces) of Armenia, empowering rural communities to identify their economic strengths and advantages, arming them with entrepreneurial skills, improving their access to finance and markets, and expanding job opportunities for women and youth.

Susanna Asatryan and her husband Arman have been engaged in rural tourism since 2013, running a uniquely decorated tasting hall of their local, homemade produce. The tasting hall provides various services to the visitors, including homemade meals and appetizers, a sampling/tasting of local wine, vodka and dried fruits. During the fruit season, tourists are welcome to walk in the garden and watch the family process and dry fruits. The entire family is engaged in this hospitality business. Youngsters escort tourists to their house. Women and their friends cook, serve meals, and make preserves and dried fruits. Men make home-made spirits/alcohol using various fruits.

After three years of successful operation, the business started to blossom and the Asatryans managed to establish productive relationships with several tour-operators. However, spacing soon became an issue. To support the family’s aspirations to host more visitors, the USAID/ARDI program helped them expand the tasting hall to accommodate more people. The family received a small seed grant of $1,500 which, coupled with their own hard work and financial investment, doubled the hall’s space from 20 square meters to 45 square meters. Now the family is pleased to host more groups, which has allowed them to increase their income as well as hire more people and create more jobs in the community.

Moldova

Moldovan clothing company keeps migration in check

Unlike many who must leave Moldova to find gainful employment abroad, these Portavita factory employees are able to live and work in Chisinau. Ludmila Bilevschi, USAID

Lilia Ranogaet didn’t start out wanting to be a clothing designer. She had studied law, and for years she ran a consulting company that helped Moldovan citizens find work abroad.

Moldova is the poorest country in Europe, and good jobs at home can be hard to find. Thousands leave the country each year seeking employment elsewhere to better support themselves and their families. Ranogaet explained that her experience helping people leave Moldova made her realize how important it is that they stay. “I wanted to think of how we can keep Moldovans here,” she said. “I was thinking, we can’t bring construction or certain other jobs here—but we can bring production here.”

Ranogaet had limited experience in production processes when she started her business in 2001. But over the past 15 years, she has worked hard to strengthen her knowledge of the industry. Her efforts have paid off as her company, Portavita, now boasts three clothing factories—one in Chisinau, one in Balti and one in Ghindesti—and employs about 380 people. Portavita is one of more than 100 companies from light industry that have received assistance from the USAID-funded Moldova Competitiveness Project aimed to help move them from low-value to high-value manufacturing.

People with Disabilities: Force for Change in Moldova

“A year ago I could not submit my first petition to the mayor of Edinet town in person, because the ramp to the City hall was not accessible. My assistant helped me to submit the document. Now, around 1,300 people with disabilities can visit the city hall building and talk directly with the authorities,” said the 38-year old Edinet resident Ludmila Golteanova.

Ludmila wrote a petition in hopes of getting a wheelchair ramp installed at the town hall building. She was inspired to action after attending a few trainings organized by Motivatie and carried out with the support of Moldova Partnerships for Sustainable Civil Society (MPSCS), a program funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by FHI 360.

Motivatie, a civil society organization working to improve the lives of people with disabilities, is training Ludmila and 17 other people with and without disabilities across Moldova to engage in public decision-making. These activists are learning to effectively engage citizens and the media, and equipped with the knowledge about people with disabilities rights, are keeping the authorities accountable. The people with disabilities activists’ hard work is already showing results: “The group from Edinet managed to influence the Civil Registration Office and town hall to build ramps for people with disabilities. In Hâncești town, the Head of the State Inspection for Construction invited our group to verify the compliance to the standards of the newly built Regional Sports Center along with the Inspection experts,” explained Igor Meriacre, the Director of Motivatie.

“When you stay isolated at home for a long time, you start to believe that you are useless. This training made me confident in my own power. Not being able to use my legs or hands was not such a big obstacle for me to get involved any longer. I wrote my first petition with a pencil in my mouth, and in a few months, I could see the result,” proudly stated Ludmila.

According to Edinet’s deputy mayor Rodelia Vasilcov, Ludmila’s letter provided the impetus for the city officials to improve the entrance to the hall. “Ludmila, being an expert in accessibility of buildings for people with disabilities, offered important advice on how to build the ramp, which was very useful. We do not have any other such experts in town,” noted the deputy mayor.

Inaccessible facilities at Moldova’s only international airport present another hurdle for people with disabilities from Moldova and those visiting the country. Last summer, Motivatie activists organized a flash mob and tested accessibility at the airport. Now, the organization is working with the airport management to adjust its facilities to the people with disabilities needs and is training the airport staff in providing support to disabled people on travel.

Much work remains to be done. Motivatie will continue improving the lives of Moldova’s more than 183,000 people with disabilities by engaging them in public life, and keeping the authorities accountable in fulfilling the commitments made under nationally and internationally binding documents that guarantee people with disabilities rights to participate in public decision-making, work, and travel. Motivatie’s expertise and continued technical assistance will help the authorities make these commitments a reality both at the local and national level.

Ukraine

Course teaches personal financial management

Iryna Brzak makes leather and fur clothing at her workshop. Courtesy of USAID/FINREP-II Program

Khrystyna Brzak is a student at Kyiv Secondary School No. 221. Since childhood, she dreamed of entering the Art Academy and becoming an artist. But when Khrystyna started the Financial Literacy Course last year, her dreams suddenly changed.

From the first Financial Literacy class, Khrystyna found the material so practical and useful that she shared the course materials with her mother, Iryna. She recalls how she convinced her mother to get a debit card. Not trusting the banking system, Iryna only used cash. “At first, my mom was a bit skeptical that I was the one giving advice – I’m just a teenager going to school. Besides, she didn’t put a lot of trust in debit cards – she was afraid of scams,” says Khrystyna. “But, after a while, she realized how much time she saved using the card. And that I’m a pretty good advisor,” she adds, smiling.

Read more about how the Financial Literacy Course is improving the lives of families.

The Ukranian Parliament's Equal Opportunities Caucus

USAID recently supported the production of a video featuring the Ukranian Parliament's Equal Opportunities Caucus (EOC) co-chairs, MPs Ionova and Voitsekhovska, and the chair of the EOC's subcommittee on gender, MP Irya Suslova.

MIDDLE EAST

Afghanistan

Helping Women in Agriculture

A worker at the Kandahar Directorate of Women’s Affairs (DOWA) demonstration farm sows improved variety of tomato seeds as the farm prepares for winter cropping. In coordination with Kandahar DOWA, the Regional Agricultural Development Program-South (RADP-S) established the demonstration farm on a 25-jerib of land in Aino Mena to provide women with a safe and accessible location where they can learn modern horticulture and agribusiness practices. The farm showcases an orchard tree nursery, greenhouses for winter vegetables, and demonstrates modern farming management practices and technologies including drip irrigation, inter-cropping, composting, vegetable dehydration using solar dryers, among others. The farm will also have an animal shed and poultry coop for livestock demonstrations. This women’s demonstration farm in Kandahar is the first of its kind, providing opportunities to women to learn about important agricultural and business topics and be leaders in the community.

"Having a great skill is not enough to succeed in business, one must also know basic business principles and start thinking like an entrepreneur,” says Ayesha.

For more than 10 years now, Ayesha has built a flourishing home-based business from taking orders for native dishes and delicacies. Her cooking is famous around Lashkar Gah that, although she is the lone earner, she had so far been able to support her household of 12 from this home enterprise alone. “I have many customers and I am taking a lot of orders but even if business is brisk our economic standing remained the same,” Ayesha confided. “Several months ago, I heard about a business training program for women in Lashkar Gah and I enrolled in it. The training helped me to think like a businesswoman.”

USAID, through its Regional Agricultural Development Program South (RADP-S), introduced a training called Women’s Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program, in Kandahar, Helmand, Uruzgan and Zabul in 2015. The short course, conducted over a period of 19 weeks, trains women in basic business concepts, horticulture, and nutrition.

Aside from teaching business concepts and agricultural production, the program also teaches women practical life skills and instills in them the confidence that they too can become a productive contributor to the household economy. As of the end of September 2016, 1,569 women and girls have graduated from the training.

Aside from teaching business concepts and agricultural production, the program also teaches women practical life skills and instills in them the confidence that they too can become a productive contributor to the household economy. As of the end of September 2016, 1,569 women and girls have graduated from the training.

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