Walk a mile in her shoes: INTO Giving launches March gender equality campaign

Walk a mile in her shoes: INTO Giving launches March gender equality campaign

Ig Yum

On Monday, 8 March, the world celebrated International Women’s Day, honoring the integral role women play in the success of communities and countries everywhere while choosing to challenge the inequalities and biases women face. For INTO Giving, the philanthropic arm of INTO, International Women’s Day marked the start of the month-long “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” campaign, which, through a series of communications and a speaker event in partnership with Room to Read, will highlight the importance of gender equality in education and encourage INTO students and colleagues to take action against gender discrimination.

Globally, women stand to earn less than their male peers for doing the same jobs, are more likely to hold less secure jobs, and are less likely to be covered by social protections.  Additionally, even though they work on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis as health-care workers, researchers, and community and national leaders, women have disproportionately taken on the responsibilities of childcare and homeschooling during the pandemic, deepening pre-pandemic inequalities.  

To combat gender inequality and the bias, discrimination, and outdated cultural norms from which it stems, INTO Giving has supported the education of girls across the globe since its inception. 

“Women who miss out on education are at higher risk of poverty, child pregnancy and child marriage, and human trafficking,” Isabel Knight, fundraising and communications officer for INTO Giving, explained.  “However, when you educate a girl, you educate her community and, should she become a mother, her children too.  Benefits include: Reduced risk of HIV/AIDS, increased literacy, increased political engagement, and higher incomes.”

In the last three years, INTO Giving and its donors have contributed more than £140,000/$195,000 to projects that support girls’ education, such as Yayasan Usaha Mulia (YUM), which provides free afterschool tutoring to 170 schoolchildren in Cipanas, West Java, Indonesia, more than half of whom are girls, and a school in the remote Malagiri region of Nepal, 60% of whose attendees are girls.

It is with projects like these in mind that the INTO Giving team has launched the “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” campaign.  “In a literal sense, we thought about children walking to get an education, like children at our Malagiri project who used to walk two miles to school each way,” Knight said.  “Barriers like this will often mean girls stay at home rather than attend school.”

One of the ways in which INTO Giving has challenged students and colleagues to walk a mile in her shoes this month is by getting active—literally walking or running to raise awareness and funds for initiatives that support women.  Knight plans to run 100km in March in order to raise funds for INTO Giving and Refuge, an organisation that supports women and children experiencing domestic violence.  Through the iGive! initiative, Knight and other INTO employees and students can raise funds for humanitarian organisations like Refuge which do not count among INTO Giving projects.  INTO Giving will also add 20% to the total of funds raised through iGive!

In a non-literal sense, the campaign also calls on individuals to reflect on what life would be like as a woman whose experience varies from their own, and to take the time to better understand women’s issues.  To that end, Rocio Lopez, Development Director, UK, at Room to Read, will speak to INTO colleagues on 18 March about the importance of girls’ equal access to education, elaborating on how the £70,000/$104,000 INTO Giving will have contributed to Room to Read by 2022 positively impacts on the lives of girls in Sri Lanka.

By the conclusion of the campaign, Knight and the INTO Giving team hope to have empowered individuals to call out instances of gender inequality and bias as they encounter them in their day-to-day lives.  “We want our supporters to conclude the month feeling more informed, ready to challenge—not accept—that inequality is inevitable,” Knight said.

To affirm your commitment, you can join INTO Giving representatives and colleagues in centres in sharing a #ChoosetoChallenge selfie and tagging @intogiving on Instagram and Twitter.

Please consider donating to INTO Giving here.

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