October 11 is a special day for IMA World Health.
On this day, we recognize the International Day of the Girl Child, a time to raise awareness about all the issues concerning gender inequality around the world. According to the Day of the Girl website, it “is not just a day; it’s a movement.”
This movement coincides with Speak Out Sunday, a day when the WeWillSpeakOut.US coalition calls on congregations across all faiths and denominations to engage in dialog, teaching, prayer and action around the prevention and elimination of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).
IMA World Health is the host organization of WeWillSpeakOut.US and part of the increasing global movement toward addressing issues of gender in health, promoting women’s empowerment and gender equity in its programs.
Sexual and gender-based violence occurs in various forms all over the world. Women face unique biological and social vulnerabilities that place them at greater risk to contract and die from disease and violence.
The risks start early, with young girls at much greater risk of suffering child abuse as compared to boys. Adolescent girls and young women ages 15-24 are two times as likely to contract HIV as compared to their male counterparts.
These are facts that can and should be changed. We can SPEAK OUT against this inequality. We can make a difference today.
IMA has ongoing programs that promote women’s reproductive rights and involve women in leadership and planning of its programs. With its USAID-funded Ushindi Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Treatment and Prevention Project, IMA assists survivors of SGBV in Eastern DRC to access holistic support services (legal, medical, psychosocial and economic support).
But so much more needs to be done.
Please join us in speaking out and taking action against gender inequality. Spend the day celebrating and encouraging the girls in your life.