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The Power of Women


March 11, 2013 BY Bobbie Thomas

 

Being a stylish woman is about more than just fashion and beauty. Sure, as a little girl, I remember with excitement trying on my mom’s hats, dresses, and heels, but I was most awe-struck by her inner beauty. Her true grace came from lifting others up and her ability to instantly melt boundaries with her warmth. From an employee greeting her at the door, to the host of the party, she has always been able to walk into a room and connect with anyone. Although she was always strikingly elegant as well, her genuine interest in others is what gave her true, powerful style.

Today, I am all about looking and feeling my best, and nothing makes me feel better than empowering other women — whether it's a simple task like highlighting how to wear the latest trend, or helping to ensure that every woman can live a life free from violence. I began my career far away from fashion, serving as a rape crisis counselor. It was by far the hardest, but most rewarding, job of my life. That opportunity instilled in me a drive to ensure that every woman has the ability to feel safe, healthy and empowered.

Over the years, I have realized more and more that I am part of a global community. I not only think about empowering women around me, but empowering women around the world. A few days ago, the world marked International Women’s Day, and I was excited to celebrate this day, but also reminded that so many women around the world still face extreme challenges every day. These issues can seem overwhelming, but I am hopeful because I know that we have the power to tackle them.  

It’s hard to believe that in 2013, complications from pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death among girls ages 15-19. And younger girls – those between the ages of 10 and 14 — are five times more likely to die in pregnancy or childbirth than older women. Most of these girls are married.

No one deserves to be forced into marriage, let alone a little girl. This denies her of her childhood, limits her opportunities, and jeopardizes her health and safety. Currently, one in seven girls under the age of 15 will be married in developing countries. What were you doing at 15? I know that I was busy hanging out with my friends at the mall after school, and I certainly wasn’t thinking about marriage or childbirth. I was able to focus on my own dreams, and that’s why I am where I am today.

I strongly believe that every girl and woman deserves the opportunity to determine her own future. Yet, in developing countries, there are more than 200 million women who want – but do not have — access to quality family planning information and services. This means they often have to drop out of school, can’t pursue an income, and are faced with life-threatening health complications or even death. But there’s a simple solution – with access to family planning, we could save lives, and empower women to pursue an education and a career, creating a better life for themselves and their families.

I hope these statistics inspire you to act. Because if there’s one thing my mom taught me, it’s the power of a group of women on a mission. That is why I am thrilled to work with an organization like the UN Foundation, because when we lift up women around the world, we create a better world for us all. Donate. Raise your voice. Educate your friends.

While alone we are strong, together we are stronger. Together, I’m confident that we can change the world.

About Global Mom Relay: Each time you share this Global Mom Relay piece on Facebook, Twitter, or Email, or donate $5 or more through clicking on the above graphic, a $5 donation (up to $8,000 per day) will be donated by Johnson & Johnson and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to Girl Up. Join us by sharing it forward and unlock the potential for women and children around the globe. For more information, visit www.unfoundation.org/globalmomrelay. The United Nations Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, BabyCenter, The Huffington Post, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation created the Global Mom Relay, a first-of-its-kind virtual relay with a goal of improving the lives of women and children around the globe.

 

POSTED IN: #SGSGlobal, Campaigns & Initiatives, Get Involved, Global Issues, On the Ground, Photo of the Day, Smart Ideas, Social Good, United Nations

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