Share Your Voice This International Women’s Day

St Mary's

On this International Women’s Day, 8th March, join ACRATH and celebrate the contributions of women, young and old, and create conversations within your community to make a difference for women and girls globally. Start talking about women and girls who are trafficked and who will never have a chance to be educated or even enjoy the freedoms we enjoy.

This year is a milestone as we celebrate ten years since Australian legislation was passed outlawing the practice of forced marriage on 8th March 2013. 

We want to hear and share the voices of our current and future women leaders. So we interviewed young female students to see what issues mattered to them. They produced a video that compels us to act to combat injustice in the production of Chocolate that’s free of child labour and to Fight for Fair.

Watch the young women of St Mary’s College, Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand, calling us to Fight for Fair and act to combat injustice in the production of chocolate. 

“It was difficult to imagine the hardships that exploited and enslaved children faced…. however, we remind others that we have the freedom to act and create change, unlike all those children who have had their freedom taken from them. By many individuals choosing to make a difference with their freedom, we can help restore these children’s rights.” 
Ana and Eden, Social Action Leaders at St Mary’s College, Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand.

ACRATH women leaders, Clare Condon, sgs ACRATH President, Melissa Halliday, Community Development Team Member and Elizabeth Young rsm, ACRATH member, share their thoughts, reflections and advice this International Women’s Day. 

Clare Condon sgs

1.    Why do you think it is important to celebrate International Women’s Day?

International Women’s Day is an opportunity to focus attention on women’s lives across the world, especially on those who are suffering from violence in all its tragic forms and to advocate for change.

2.    Women, including young women, have a significant role to play in how vulnerable women across the globe are treated. However, moving from awareness to behaviour change is a considerable challenge. How do you think we can do this?

Women’s rights are human rights.  In our western society, one simple way to change behaviour is our need to constantly review our purchasing habits and refuse to purchase goods produced by exploitation of women’s labour.

 3. What piece of advice would you give to your younger self?

Open your eyes and see; don’t turn away; then act

Melissa Halliday

1.    Why do you think it is important to celebrate International Women’s Day?

IWD gives us an opportunity to pause in the midst of our busy lives, and ponder the values and vision that drive us. It helps us to take this pause collectively- and remember and celebrate all that we have achieved together and forge the path ahead.

2.    Women, including young women, have a significant role to play in how vulnerable women across the globe are treated. However, moving from awareness to behaviour change is a considerable challenge. How do you think we can do this?

Small step by small step. By holding ourselves accountable – living out our values and leading by example. By taking the long and wide view, considering ourselves as part of something bigger than our lives here, and remembering our deep connection to each other around the world.

 3. What piece of advice would you give to your younger self?

Try not to be overwhelmed by the global challenges we face. No one can solve them alone. We each have something to bring to this big, beautiful, complicated world, so take up your space and do your bit, keep showing up and trying your best.

Elizabeth Young

1. Why do you think it is important to celebrate International Women’s Day?

I find it so important to celebrate International Women’s Day in order to recognise the great improvements to women’s rights and lives that have been brought about by courageous women and men in the past. I have been so blessed to grow up in an environment in which I have been able to live independently, study to my interests, earn money, make career and family choices, vote, speak publicly, and practise faith and recreational activities. Yet I can take these for granted when I forget that women before me, and in many parts of the world still, do not have these opportunities. There are so many experiences of injustice, enforced poverty, slavery and violence that continue to be the norm for so many women and girls.

2.    Women, including young women, have a significant role to play in how vulnerable women across the globe are treated. However, moving from awareness to behaviour change is a considerable challenge. How do you think we can do this?

I agree that this is not an easy change to bring about. I believe that a big part is about fostering a new culture, which is a slow and demanding process. However, I have seen women from the developing world grow and flourish when they see examples of independent and educated women among them, and are given opportunities to take small steps at a time in self-improvement. It seems to me that there is also a very important role for men, in working alongside women to demonstrate empowerment and equal treatment in more than words. When people of different genders step forward together, there is a diversity of skills and wisdom, and everyone benefits.

3. What piece of advice would you give to your younger self?

Every part of your experience, no matter how hard, will contribute to making you your unique self. Trust God, value everything that makes up your world, and share the journey with others.

TODAY and every day, we ask you to reflect on and act against Human Trafficking and Fight for Fair!