Can “normal” people help create a world where every day, every person’s voice can be heard, every person’s safety protected, every person’s talents engaged and appreciated, and every person’s contributions compensated fairly?
The answer to these questions is a resounding YES. Over the course of my career, in both the domestic and international arenas, I have seen the difference that women and girls make in driving change, and the impacts that they have made.
I have witnessed firsthand that it is not only possible but absolutely necessary for people to participate in individual and collective advocacy, action, and organizing. For example, pressure from investors and consumers has caused some companies to change their business and hiring practices and to commit to producing goods free from child labor and human trafficking. Courageous women who tell their stories have instigated a sea change in our conversations about sexual harassment and assault. A record number of women have run for and won seats in the U.S. Congress and transformed the way we now envision who is eligible and capable to lead. Women political leaders from across the globe took decisive and effective action to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
Take Action, Fighting for Women and Girls:
• Provides a framework for advocacy and action
• Outlines actions you can take in your daily life
• Highlights salient and critical facts
• Spotlights role models
• Provides topic-specific resource lists
Overall, the book provides you with a roadmap to address the persistent and systemic issues that keep women – and the societies they live in – from realizing their full potential. It doesn’t address every barrier or challenge, but is a framework you can use to work on any issue. Take Action is a tool you can use to play your part in this change and encourage others to do the same.
The chapters in this book provide this roadmap.
• Chapter 1 describes the critical role we all can play as advocates and activists for gender equality and women’s empowerment, and underscores the importance of advocacy and organizing others to make change.
• Chapter 2 discusses the power of education for girls and young women, the importance of keeping girls in school and making sure they can study what they want, and the impact of educated women and girls both globally and individually.
• Chapter 3 discusses how to expand women’s economic opportunity so that women can better support their families, so that communities can prosper, and so that economies can grow.
• Chapter 4 discusses how to eliminate gender-based violence (GBV) and other harmful practices that make it difficult for women and girls to fully participate in society.
• Chapter 5 discusses how to promote women’s participation in politics and public life so that the policy-making process is more inclusive and current and future laws make sense for everyone.
In chapters 2 to 5, you will come away with the following tangible information:
• Important facts about each of the four main issues (education, economic opportunity, gender-based violence, political participation), and why each topic is critical to the empowerment of women and girls.
• A framework for advocacy and action that outlines specific steps and concrete actions you can take to help make a difference, including suggestions about how to take action in your daily life.
• A Diving Deep section that outlines what else you can do, and describes what lessons we’ve learned about what types of projects, programs, and interventions work, and which don’t.
• Information about role models, women and men who are tackling these issues and acting as examples for all of us.
• A Resources section with lists of movies, books, organizations, and links to facts and figures that will inspire you as well as prepare you to be well informed about each of the four main issues. This information will be available and updated on my website: stepheniefoster.com
In each chapter there are questions you can ask – of political leaders, government officials, teachers, media executives, and others – to help start and drive conversations about what is possible and what actions can be taken to advance gender equality.
It is my hope that this book inspires you to act, sparks many conversations, and leads to concrete and sustainable change. We are all in this together. We can’t afford to leave over half of our world’s population on the sidelines. Our future depends on it.
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