By Maggie Farrand

One hundred years ago today, the world celebrated the first International Women’s Day – a day to honor the achievements of women past, present and future. In 1911, women fought successfully for their right to work, vote, to hold public office and to end discrimination.

Since that time, women have seen significant societal changes and attitudinal shifts towards them, but even today, education, health and violence against women continues to be worse than that of men.

And there are staggering statistics to show for it: women perform 66 percent of the world’s work, produce 50 percent of the food, but earn 10 percent of the income and own 1 percent of the property (UNICEF, 2007).

Today, whether it’s advocating for better reproductive health in India or awarding a small grant to a women-led NGO in Afghanistan, Counterpart is dedicated to capturing women’s potential.

We teach mothers in Niger how to see the first signs of malnutrition in their children; we work with women entrepreneurs in Guatemala on improving the quality of their handicrafts in order to attract more international buyers; we reconstruct rural maternity wards in Azerbaijan so patients can receive better prenatal care.

With the right tools and training, women will become more active and educated participants in their own development. They are the catalysts for huge global change.

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