One in three women worldwide are victims of violence. That’s an astounding statistic that shows that something must be done to protect women from violence and to increase awareness of the societal problem that plagues many countries.
Women Thrive’s Fourth Annual International Women’s Day Breakfast on Thursday aims to do just that. Women Thrive Worldwide is the leading non-profit organization shaping U.S. policy to help women in developing countries lift themselves and their families out of poverty. On Thursday, Women Thrive and a panel of distinguished speakers - including actor and activist Maria Bello, Women Thrive founder and president Ritu Sharma, Siham Salman, program officer for the Islamic Relief in Iraq, and Edna Adan Ismail, Somali activist and one of Newsweek’s “150 Women Who Shake the World 2011″ - will explore how women and men, faith leaders, corporations, government and the international development community can end this injustice.
“When a woman is beaten or raped, it is not only a gross violation of her as a person, it is also a staggering injustice to everyone around her; she cannot care for her children, earn an income or participate in her community,” Sharma told genConnect. “But what’s perhaps even more staggering is the courage that women are showing every day in communities worldwide, standing up against such violence. This International Women’s Day, it’s important to give voice to and learn from those solutions, so women and men can work together towards a world free of gender-based violence.”
Sharma noted that in the last few years, the United States has begun to recognize the severity of the problem and a bipartisan consensus has built in Washington on the need to integrate anti-violence efforts across U.S. foreign policy and assistance to other countries. In December 2011, the State Department, for example, created a new U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security, a focus of which is ending gender-based violence in conflict areas. In the last year, Congress has mandated that prevention and response of gender-based violence be integrated as part of other development programs such as maternal and child health, humanitarian assistance and economic development. The last Congress came very close to passing a comprehensive International Violence Against Women Act in 2010 with strong bipartisan support.
“We hope that this event, which will have a high-level audience from the Obama administration and Congress, will offer concrete additional recommendations for U.S. government action on the issue coming from people who live the experience of working on this issue in the field every day,” Sharma added.
Reps. Ted Poe, R-TX, Jan Schakowsky, D-IL, and Betty McCollum, D-MN, are also attending with opening remarks by Judy Woodruff, co-anchor of PBS Newshour; Sen. John Kerry, D-MA, is also an honorary co-chair of the event, which will be held at the Reserve Officers Association Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
The Women Thrive event will be streamed live — click here to access the webcast.
Want to help spread the word about how we can prevent violence against women? Use the hashtag #noneinthree throughout the week or tweet along with Women Thrive during the International Women’s Day Breakfast on March 1st. Your tweet will be featured in a cutting-edge ‘twitter fall’ that will display tweets in support of ending violence against women and girls on a large display screen and via live webcast throughout the event.
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