In this three-part series, Counterpart International’s Gender Working Group discusses the importance of a focus on gender in implementing programs.

1. Why do you think it’s important to recognize the International Day of Women?

Farangis: Although significant progress has been made in advancing the rights, treatment and condition of women throughout the world, a lot more needs to be done. Inequality persists and continues to be one area in which women experience noticeable disparate treatment and can be seen in developing, emerging and even advanced economies. The Day raises awareness of issues of concern to women on a global scale and invites everyone to take meaningful action and sustainable change for women and girls not just for this one day but for every day.

Gozel: It is important to educate ourselves and learn more about the history of International Women’s Day as well as be part of the celebration at a global level. It is especially important to know about it as Counterpart does a lot of work in the area of gender to make sure that women’s issues are not overlooked or ignored. We have to know about struggles that women around the world face in order to gain equality and rights.

Kimberly: International Women’s Day is important because it draws attention to the struggles and inequalities that women face around the world and celebrates the significant accomplishments women and men have achieved in advancing gender. Though awareness about the importance of gender equality and female empowerment is growing, we don’t yet live in a world where males and females can equally flourish. International Women’s Day allows us an opportunity to think about the steps we still need to ensure social, economic, and political equality for all human beings both in the United States and around the world.

Mouna: It is important because it reminds the society about the work that we still have to do to empower women and realize equality.

Oriane: To me, it is very important to bring awareness of women’s rights, struggles and successes by celebrating International Women’s Day! Having one day where we can celebrate what we’ve accomplished, and think about what we need to change, helps us work together to create that difference. International Women’s Day symbolically shows the importance of women, women’s beauty and how far we can keep going!

2. Why are you a member of Counterpart’s Gender Working Group?

Farangis: I am a member of Counterpart’s Gender Working Group because I strongly believe that this is a good platform to share ideas and experiences around gender issues. Given Counterpart’s culture, I believe that the ideas put forward can make a real difference in promoting and advancing diversity and gender issues across the organization and that our work will be taken seriously and respected. Gender and its components are now becoming a major part of Counterpart’s projects across the organization.

Gozel: Gender issues and women’s issues are very close to my heart because of some personal experience in the past as well as my academic background. I want to be able to first of all learn more about these issues as well as contribute in the resolution of violence against women and bring equality among men and women.

Kimberly: Gender issues have always been important to me personally and professionally, and the Gender Working Group provides an opportunity to further develop skills and strategies for promoting gender equality in my work at Counterpart. I also love to hear about the experiences of the other Working Group members, not only in their programs—which is great—but also in their personal lives.

Mouna: It is a great opportunity to learn the technical aspect of gender equality programs and exchange ideas with different programs.

Oriane: I am a part of the Gender Working Group because I want to learn and challenge myself in an area that is not very familiar to me. I really wanted to become more involved in gender discussions and debates, learn more about how to think about gender in program implementation, and hear the great ideas coming from the members of the group. I see it as an opportunity to learn more about what is important to me and Counterpart, and that is very exciting.

Check back on Wednesday for the second part of the series.

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