International Women’s Day 2019: Striving for Balance

The future is balanced. Women stand empowered, educated and active! Global communities thrive. The pursuit of a gender-balanced world inspires transformation and innovation. Join us as we create #BalanceforBetter.

What is International Women’s Day?

Imagine a gender-balanced world, where economies and communities celebrate the tangible impact of empowered women. A society that reflects and celebrates the social, historical, cultural and political achievements of all women. A societal landscape where grassroots activism transforms all lives. We do.

A global initiative, International Women’s Day (IWD) is a movement that continues to march towards rights, equality and justice for all women. An international day of action where gender equality tops the agenda.

On 8 March 2019 we celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day theme; #BalanceforBetter. We recognise the social, economic, cultural and political accomplishments of women across the globe. We strike “the pose”; we strive for gender balance in a world that expects balance for all.

How did International Women’s Day begin?

A day steeped in the traditions of suffragettes and mobilised women spanning the ages, International Women’s Day was born in the winter of 1908, as 15,000 female garment workers protested horrendous working conditions in New York. The women’s rights movement had arrived.

The fastest way to change society is to mobilise the women of the world.

- Charles Malik

First emerging from labour movements at the turn of the twentieth century, International Women’s Day quickly took on a global dimension. From 1908 to the United Nations, the women’s rights movement spread across Europe and the United States with intent. March 1975 saw the United Nations celebrate the first International Women’s Day and go on to adopt a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace in 1977.

How will you accelerate gender balance?

Empowering and educating women and young girls, is empowering humanity.


This International Women’s day join us in:

  • participating in discussions that address gender disparity
  • celebrating inspirational women and their political, cultural and historical achievements
  • raising visibility of marginalised, displaced and disenfranchised women across the globe
  • championing the education of women and young girls
  • Striking the pose and striving to create a #BalanceforBetter world

How World Vision Australia supports women

International Women’s Day is a day of reflection. Applauding the voices that command change while acknowledging the work still required to truly achieve gender balance. World Vision champions women through ground breaking programs and campaigns including:


1. Balancing gender equality

What does gender equality look like? Picture health and education services developed to empower and inform. Communities where physical, mental and social wellbeing for women and girls is equal to that of men and boys. Access to clean water and hygiene regardless of economic background. Opportunity and financial support to create sustainable business models in local communities.

Over 1.3 billion women and girls lack private toilets, making them more vulnerable to gender-based violence. This exposes them to physical, psychological and sexual violence. This threat is multiplied in conflict areas, refugee camps and disaster zones.

World Vision actively supports women who are disproportionately affected by gender inequality. From programs developed to improve women’s mental health (Sri Lanka) to promoting women’s engagement in civil society (Afghanistan), we strive to eliminate gender-based disparity across the globe including in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.


Help place 30 million girls in school. Empower through education!

2. Building foundations with education

Did you know that $100 can help seven people learn functional literacy, basic maths and fundamental life skills? We did.

In fact, World Vision’s commitment to education has resulted in over 4 million children in more than 60 countries participating in age-appropriate quality education programs. Literacy programs in Bangladesh have witnessed an increase in reading and comprehension by 71 percent while 1.7 million children in 27 countries have advanced their literacy through World Vision’s Unlock Literacy program.

Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child and one teacher can change the world

- Malala Yousafzai (International Women’s Day Quote)

On International Women’s Day we honour the 120 million children (up to age 15) who have limited access to education and commit our support to their future. Empowering children and communities with sustainable educational opportunities, in a learning environment that offers protection from violence, supports the most vulnerable.

Educate girls, end poverty.

3. End child marriage save childhood

Change a girl’s life. Transform her world. Educate her family and community. Reduce her risk of child marriage.

World Vision works with policy makers and community elders to break the cycle of poverty and tradition that contribute to higher rates of child marriage.

At risk of domestic and sexual violence, exploitation and the consequences of early pregnancy, child brides are statistically at a higher risk of dying in childbirth. Over 500,000 women die each year due to complications in pregnancy, 99 percent of those deaths are young women and girls in developing countries.

So, we educate. Educate parents to understand the irreversible impact that child marriage will have on their child. Educate girls so that an education and the safe confines of the classroom offer a refuge that will evolve into knowledge that supports her family. Educate communities and initiate dialogue with men and boys. Implore policy makers to raise the minimum age for marriage to 18 years, worldwide.

Education for girls is one of the best strategies for protecting girls against child marriage

- Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations

Through child sponsorship, we work to overcome obstacles to provide girls with opportunities to follow their dreams. What is International Women’s Day without challenging the societal norms that suggest that young girls and women are inferior?

One in nine girls marry before they turn 15. Break the cycle.

4. Combat child slavery. Stop child trafficking

According to the 2018 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, produced by the UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), women and girls account for three quarters of all trafficking victims worldwide. 94 percent of total victims trafficked for sexual exploitation and 35 percent of those trafficked for forced labour are marginalised and vulnerable women and girls.

Migration flows, the displacement and dispersion of families and children travelling alone make children more vulnerable to exploitation. Worth an estimated US$150 billion, and with a high profit, low risk crime profile, child trafficking involves recruiting, harbouring, providing or procuring children for sexual exploitation, forced labour, conflict and domestic enslavement.

There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.

- Nelson Mandela

World Vision is mobilised. Working to end child trafficking and child slavery via prevention, protection and reintegration programs. The End Trafficking in Person program (Greater Mekong region) is the largest anti-trafficking program of its kind and supports our goal of reducing the number of women and children exploited for profit. We continue to lobby local authorities to advance new laws and prosecute offenders while advocating for global co-operation.

Girls account for 23% of all trafficking victims detected globally. Be part of the solution.

5. Child labour a human rights issue

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) reports that worldwide over 218 million children between the ages of five and 17 are in employment. Among those children a staggering 152 million are child labourers with girls accounting for 64 million of those. Deprived of basic human rights they are at risk of slavery, trafficking, sexual exploitation, injury, disease and death. Vulnerable to abuse, with families affected by generational poverty. 


Do you make ethical purchasing decisions? Shopping ethically is a small but impactful decision that influences the child labour market particularly in the agriculture sector. This sector accounts for a distressing 71 percent of child labour statistics.


This International Women’s Day Australia mark your calendar to remember the 64 million girls who are deprived of their right to childhood and protection. Give the gift of a future.


Child labour numbers continue to decline. Help protect children.

Inspirational women we love

How better to celebrate International Women’s Day 2019 than to pay tribute to diverse and inspirational women creating sustainable change in their communities.

1. Meet Tabitha; Baking a sustainable future

Situated in the mountains of Lesotho’s northern Makhunoane region, the Thusanang Mokhali Bakery stands as a testament to the determination of founder Tabitha Mamopei. Renowned for its flavoursome bread and bursting with a team of four, the bakery is transforming lives in the region. 

Having spent years working in South Africa supporting her children and parents from afar, Tabitha returned to her home of Ha Paramente only to be struck by the inherited challenges facing her community. 

Acknowledging the lack of employment opportunities for younger people, Tabitha teamed up with fellow grandmother Mahlakametsa and began baking bread. Initially constrained by baking in an earth-dug fire pit which resulted in an inferior product, World Vision assisted with a baking oven. This brought the baking indoors and into the homes of the local community.

Through Tabitha’s determination and vision, the bakery continues to increase production while creating employment opportunities for the people of her local community. On International Women’s Day, World Vision celebrates Tabitha.

2. World Vision's humanitarian heroes

This International Women’s Day we commend the work of the women of World Vision who are active among the communities we support. Participating in the stories of those in need, educating from the ground up, these inspirational women are compelled to bring the work of World Vision to life. 

Meet Brianna Piazza, Emergencies Communications Officer with World Vision. Last year, Brianna travelled to the world’s largest refugee settlement in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. A humanitarian, Brianna listened to the atrocities that befell the Rohingya people and bore witness to a people trying to rebuild their lives. Over the course of the past six months, Brianna has travelled to the frontline of crisis situations on behalf of World Vision, in Bangladesh and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

3. Our Goodwill Ambassadors

The Australian women among our Goodwill Ambassadors come from all walks of celebrity. From the arts to high fashion and mainstream media. Using their individual platforms, ambassadors including Rebecca Gibney, Deborra-lee Furness, Jessica Gomes, Livinia Nixon and dual Olympic Australian cyclist, Annette Edmondson (pictured) further public awareness regarding the work of World Vision.

Their passionate advocacy helps to protect vulnerable children from exploitation, violence and abuse. World Vision salutes their contribution on International Women’s Day.

4. Meet the women leading World Vision

On International Women’s Day, World Vision lauds the inspirational women at the helm of World Vision.

Led by our accomplished Chief Executive Officer, Claire Rogers, World Vision continues to affect change both worldwide and in Australia. Passionate about reaching new generations in the fight to eradicate global poverty, Claire’s experience empowers the growth of World Vision with her finely honed communication and negotiation skills. Inspired by the organisation’s vision of a just and peaceful world, Claire is ably supported by women and men throughout the organisation.

The World Vision leadership group is bursting with inspirational women, affecting change at every level of business and advocacy.

How you can support World Vision’s efforts

1. Sponsor a girl

Break the cycle of generational poverty and empower a girl through education. Millions of girls and young women are at risk of sexual exploitation, child labour, early marriage, trafficking and slavery. One in six adolescent girls are married or in union, break the cycle!


2. Buy empowering women’s gifts

3. Volunteer and fundraise

Why not celebrate International Women’s Day by volunteering or fundraising? World Vision volunteers are passionately committed to improving the lives of the world’s poorest people, of which a large percentage is women and girls.

Join us in May as we run or walk for global change with our Global 6K for Water campaign. Host an event, bring people together and help raise vital funds to provide clean water to communities. With over 72 percent of household water collected by women and 14 percent by children, the risk of violence to women and girls is substantially increased for those without clean water close to home.

Perhaps you can engage your family and friends by taking part in our 40 Hour Famine Backpack Challenge? Take a stand for young refugees across the globe and unite with thousands of Australians in leading global change. Did you know there are over 68.5 million refugee and displaced people in the world? More than 50 percent of those people are under 18 years of age.

4. Attend an International Women’s Day Breakfast

Would you like to participate in a flagship event in support of International Women’s Day? Stand in unity and acknowledge the social, economic and political achievements of women from all facets of society? 

From community organisations to the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne, women come together to celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) in March each year. Connecting women in equality and reflection, this year’s call to action focuses on driving gender balance, gender inclusivity and building a gender-balanced world. 

Be inspired! Network, nurture relationships and mobilise.

5. Host your own International Women’s Day Event

Have you been nominated to host an International Women’s Day event? Whether you’re a small business, school, sporting club, charity or community service provider join in unity with women everywhere celebrating the movement for women’s rights, equality and justice.

International Women’s Day 2019 is a day of action, mobilising men and women to act against gender equality. Why not host an event such as a breakfast, morning tea, perhaps a fun run or sporting club event? Fundraising supports change for millions of women worldwide. 

Equipped with International Women’s Day hashtag #BalanceforBetter take to social platforms and be part of the movement. Order an International Women’s Day event pack, join more than 1,000 Australians who within a two-month period sponsored over 1,533 girls. Affect change, transform lives!

6. Campaign for gender equality and women’s rights

Join us in fighting poverty through empowerment and education. Campaign to raise awareness for women’s rights across the globe. Strive to improve literacy and education through programs and sponsorship and on International Women’s Day 2019 join us in campaigning for gender balance.

World Vision empowers millions of girls in the developing world.

7. Celebrate International Women’s Day with the important women in your life


Celebrate the achievements of the inspirational women in your life on International Women’s Day 2019.


Take this opportunity to reflect on the incredible women in your world, whether they be family members, work colleagues, friends or mentors. Acknowledge their contribution to the fight for gender balance and equality for all.


A day for all women and girls, International Women’s Day is larger than any one of us, but inclusive of all. Why not sponsor a child for your closest friend or give a gift that empowers women on behalf of your workplace? Perhaps go to one of the many great Women’s Day events in your local area where you will network with likeminded women. Celebrate achievements and support potential with the women who shape your world on International Women’s Day.




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