International Women’s Day: Using education as a tool to create #BalanceforBetter

By Zainab Bangura

Zainab is the Head of Equality at EducAid, she works hard to ensure that our schools are places of opportunity for both girls and boys, as well as helping to educate all students on the importance of gender equality. Zainab is passionate about encouraging young girls to be strong, and boys to work hand in hand with girls to make the world a gender-balanced place.

#BalanceforBetter and International Women’s Day

As the rest of the world celebrates International Women’s Day, EducAid as an educational institution restates a commitment towards ensuring that there is a balance for boys and girls in our schools. International Women’s Day is celebrated on the 8th of March every year to honour women who have paved the path towards progress and struggled to take womanhood to the level where it is today. It is also a reminder of the discrimination and inequality that still continues to plague our society.

The theme for International Women’s Day this year is #BalanceforBetter. The theme is a call to action for driving gender equality across the world and for all to build a gender-balanced world. The campaign theme provides a unified direction to guide and galvanise continuous collective actions, with activities reinforced and amplified all year.

Achieving gender equality remains a challenge in Sierra Leone. Women are confronted with limited access to decision-making processes, and access to and control over resources. There’s a beacon of hope that ‘one day’ will surely come when Sierra Leonean women will be treated equally as men. It is stated in the constitution of Sierra Leone, “every citizen shall have equality of rights, obligations and opportunities before the law, and the state shall ensure that every citizen has an equal right and access to all opportunities and benefits based on merit”. With this in place, Sierra Leone could be a gender-balanced country by 2030.

What is EducAid doing to mark International Women’s Day?

EducAid’s Equality Team has decided to do assembly presentations, poster presentations, a session on the history of International Women’s Day and also sing songs about girl’s empowerment. The Equality Team will also celebrate strong women in the organisation.

Our hope is that the students will be able to understand why International Women’s Day is celebrated all over the world and why women are determined to make the world gender-balanced. It will also help change their mind-set so that they can choose to become a leader and self-empowered.

Students at EducAid see International Women’s Day as an opportunity to empower themselves and break the silence of women who have been treated as women instead of as human beings. The girls in EducAid have come to realise that empowerment is a tool to redefine society’s definition of womanhood and are willing to break that silence by participating in leadership roles and sessions and also in taking the lead to preach about equality to their families and communities.

The Equality Team have been working with school communities in order to sensitise them about the role of women in the society and for them also to train their children irrespective of their gender, so that by 2030 the world will have become a better place.

What change does the Equality Team hope to see after International Women’s Day?

After the International Women’s Day celebration, the Equality Team want to see girls and boys work hand in hand to make the organisation a gender-balanced place. And also hope that EducAid’s female leaders become more active and help others who are falling behind. We will create a forum where the Girls Power Group {GPG} and the White Ribbon Campaign {WRS} can work together to educate people from different societies about the importance of why women should be given the opportunity to take part in decision-making processes.

Celebrating the Women of EducAid

Over the next few weeks, we will be celebrating some of the strong and powerful women who make EducAid what it is today. We will be sharing their stories with you, so that you can get to know them better and see how these leaders are shaping the future of Sierra Leone and creating #BalanceforBetter. Follow #WomenofEducAid to stay update with posts on our social media, and sign up to receive our blogs so you get notified when we post a new story! We are looking forward to sharing these women’s stories with you, and hope you will join in celebrating them!

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