Women are a severely disadvantaged group in many of the world’s developing countries. Often they face daily ordeals of sexual and physical abuse because of a cultural bias in favour of men. Sometimes such treatment of women is even supported by the law. Even when the law is not a direct disadvantage to them, it often fails to ensure basic human rights for women.
For example, the law in Burkina Faso provides women with very few rights. They are unable to work for themselves, and arranged marriages and female circumcision are still common. In the DR Congo, sexual violence against women was outlawed as recently as 1996; however, enforcing this law is difficult because members of the security forces have long been the worst perpetrators.
Unemployment also often hits women hardest, meaning they are often among the first to be made redundant. They also find it difficult to get work in the first place – reaching a very low ‘glass ceiling’ – even when they have the requisite skills. Some of the world’s major charities run charity gift schemes that make it possible for us to help women in such situations. By buying one of the following charity gifts you can help the plight of women the world over.
• ‘Protect women’ – a charity gift by Oxfam
For just £30.00 this charity gift will help change attitudes about domestic violence. Oxfam’s dedicated staff mobilise women and raise awareness using tools such as street theatre and local radio.
By equipping them with the necessary skills, this charity gift will help women challenge those who would commit physical and sexual abuse against them. Beauty Ara works with Oxfam in Sri Lanka. She spoke recently of her motivation for getting involved with the charities work: “I wanted to inform people. I’ve seen so much unfairness and violence, I don’t want any more women to face these problems.”
• ‘Give girls a headstart’ – a charity gift by Oxfam
This charity gift engages shamelessly in affirmative action for women. Having faced discrimination for so long, women and girls now need preferential treatment. This charity gift will encourage girl’s education by providing textbooks and after-school clubs.
This charity gift will also help girls learn basic life skills, become aware of health issues, and the importance of going to school. Oxfam will use the cost of this charity gift to help girls in Mombassa, Kenya, who work the streets and live in the midst of poverty and disease.
• ‘Train a businesswoman’ – a charity gift by Oxfam
This charity gift will help support women who are still in work but struggle to make a profit. They will receive management and efficiency training, and get advice on improving their production processes.
Cirlene, who lives in Brazil, was a recipient of Oxfam’s help recently. She says: “There was no work here, so we had to use our initiative. Oxfam’s help has been invaluable.”
• ‘Woman's apprenticeship’ – a charity gift from World Vision
This woman's apprenticeship charity gift is run by Must Have Gifts, World Vision’s charity gift scheme. This charity gift will pay for special assistance for women to start a new business.
World Vision works in Albania to equip women with skills that will help them survive economic instability. These women find it impossible to get work over their male counterparts, even when properly skilled. To counteract this, World Vision is retraining them in skills still required by the community.
Charity gifts are a great way to celebrate a friend or loved one's birthday or anniversary. Show them you really care (in more ways that one), without giving unwanted clutter.
It is very quick and easy to buy a charity gift. All you do is visit the web site, pick a charity gift that suits your needs, and then choose a card with a personal message to send to your loved one on whose behalf you are buying the charity gift.
Click on the relevant links below to explore how you can support disadvantaged women through buying a charity gift.
CAFOD – World Gifts