#WOMENLEAD

{Photo credit: Rui Pires.}Photo credit: Rui Pires.

Each year International Women’s Day energizes women and girls all over the world to celebrate and acknowledge the contributions of women globally. Together, we celebrate both the spirit and the essence of women wherever they may be, in whatever role they have taken. Based on our own experiences as women, each of us must align ourselves in solidarity with movements that signify a moment in our lives where we have overcome challenges despite the obstacles faced. 

For me, International Women’s Day represents the everyday successes that occur: when a mother delivers her baby safely in a health facility, the first day that little girl goes to school, and when she graduates from university. These moments of triumph are the result of the struggles of men and women who fought against the injustice of discrimination based on gender.

I want to acknowledge these great achievements of women and girls not only on March 8, but each and every day. 

{Photo credit: Sarah Lindsay/MSH}Photo credit: Sarah Lindsay/MSH

Cross-posted with permission from the LMG Blog.

The US Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Leadership, Management & Governance Project (LMG), led by Management Sciences for Health (MSH), is launching the East Africa Women's Mentoring Network. We are calling upon women leaders who have worked in family planning and reproductive health as service providers, midwives, program managers, policy makers, teachers, advocates, and other relevant positions to support the aspirations of younger women. We are seeking mentees interested in learning from seasoned professionals and mentors with experience, wisdom, and enthusiasm.

 {Photo credit: Sylvia Vriesondorp/MSH.}2014 JWLI Fellows meet with Atsuko Fish (seated, in red coat) and Belkis Giorgis, MSH’s global technical lead on gender (seated at laptop). From right: Yuka Matsushima, Yumiko Nagai, Mito Ikemizu, Kozue Sawame (Fish Family Foundation), Megumi Ishimoto.Photo credit: Sylvia Vriesondorp/MSH.

“Japanese women could be a tremendous force for social change—in Japan and elsewhere,” said Atsuko Fish, Trustee of the Fish Family Foundation in Boston. “But, few have the confidence and skills to take on leadership roles.”

In 2006, three visionary women leaders, Fish; Mary Lassen, past president and Chief Executive Officer of the Women's Union in Boston; and Catherine Crone Coburn, former president of MSH, founded The Japanese Women‘s Leadership Initiative (JWLI). They created a pilot project designed to provide women from Japan four weeks of direct experience and training with successful nonprofit organizations in Boston. Training areas included domestic violence, elder care, child care, and women‘s leadership and empowerment. That same year, Simmons College became their academic partner.

 {Photo credit: Sylvia Vriesendorp/MSH.}Dr. Barakzai and colleague share a laugh.Photo credit: Sylvia Vriesendorp/MSH.

This post originally appeared on the LMGforHealth.org blog.

She asked me, "How do you get confidence? I had it and then lost it. I want it back!"

For more than a decade I have been in close contact with Afghan women who, if they were put together to form a government, would change the course of history in their country. Some are older and have proven to be extraordinary leaders—the kind of people who are needed to create the conditions for peace. Others are young and full of energy to turn things around as they watch the international and local debates about Afghanistan's future. And some are in the middle; they are developing their leadership skills in their immediate surroundings, practicing, falling down, brushing themselves off, and trying again.

The question from my young colleague resonated with me because the issue of confidence had come up several times during my recent stay in Kabul—how easy it is to get it and how easily it is lost.

International Women’s Day, March 8, signifies more than a single day can encompass. At MSH, International Women’s Day is a day for celebrating women health leaders who inspire change and an opportunity to recommit ourselves to another year of action toward gender equity.

We celebrate International Women’s Day with Drs. Suraya Dalil and Florence Guillaume, Ministers of Health from Afghanistan and Haiti.

Watch their video message to women around the world:

We pay homage to the women who have come before us; we stand on their shoulders. We acknowledge their courage, sacrifice, and commitment, allowing women today to dream of a future with more possibilities for next generations of women and girls.

"Women lead with... her rights""Women lead with... her rights"

A version of this post originally appeared on the LMGforHealth.org blog.

(Photos by Sarah Lindsay, Rachel Hassinger, Willow Gerber, and Barbara Ayotte / MSH)

[A woman talks with Belkis Giorgis (right)] {Photo credit: Dominic Chavez, 2011}A woman talks with Belkis Giorgis (right)Photo credit: Dominic Chavez, 2011

Printer Friendly Version
Subscribe to RSS - #WOMENLEAD