Recent terrorist attacks in Paris have resulted in shock and sadness among millions, making some question what, if anything, can be done to make a positive impact on the state of affairs that contributed to the violence. In others, it has generated a sense of urgency to do something, to make a difference.
This quote comes from a friend who posted her thoughts on Facebook: “So many things swirling in my mind this afternoon. Things about how enormous the problems and injustices in the world are, and how insignificant any one person’s efforts seem in the face of such immense wrong.” Another friend was so moved to take action that she decided to write a letter to a nonprofit she’s involved with, suggesting the creation of a program to bring women of the U.S. together with women in developing countries as a way to foster deeper knowledge of others, to break down barriers that keep us from seeing one another’s common humanity.
On September 25th, the United Nations made a historic and bold move by adopting the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These new SDGs follow and expand on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which were set in 2001 and are due to expire at the end of this year. Each goal has specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years.
The Millennium Development Goals were a good framework for governments and international aid that have resulted in many global improvements, but they were too narrow to create comprehensive change. For the past two years, thousands of stakeholders have been developing a new approach. The 17 SDGs, which include 169 individual targets, are collaborative and transformational; they are inextricably linked to each other and reliant on each other for total success.
Recently, DFW co-founders Marsha Wallace and Barb Collins and I had the opportunity to visit the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) in Washington, DC with Ambassador (Ret.) Steve Steiner. Ambassador Steiner is a fabulous supporter of DFW, along with his wife and DC-1 Chapter Leader Merle Steiner.
Women and children in conflict zones around the world are far more likely to be killed, raped, injured and torn from their homes than actual combatants. The Women Peace and Security Act offers protection for women on the ground and a seat at the negotiating table. But it is languishing in Congress. What can DFW do to help?
DFW recognizes that our mission of making a meaningful difference in the lives of women living in extreme poverty cannot be separate from our commitment to promote gender equality.
This is reflected in our recently revised vision statement: “We envision a world in which millions of lives have been transformed and extreme poverty has been reduced because Dining for Women has connected people in creative, powerful ways that assure gender equality. “
One of the most prevalent symptoms of gender inequality is gender-based violence. As Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn explained in the introduction to their book, Half the Sky, more women have been killed just because they are women than all the men killed in all the world wars of the 20th century combined.
Harmful practices like sex-selective abortion, female infanticide, suicide, honor killings, bride burnings, and rape are all components of gender-based violence. Estimates are that up to one in three women will be a victim of gender violence at some point, and in some countries, as many as 70 percent of women are victims. Gender-based violence, one of the most egregious of human rights violations, is a public health crisis and a barrier to some of the world’s greatest challenges: eradication of HIV and AIDS, extreme poverty and political stability in some of the world’s most conflict- ridden countries. Details
Gloria Steinem, far right, with (from the left) Diane Wege Sherodan, Marsha Wallace, Elizabeth Howard, Jessica Neuwirth and Joan Davidson.
By Marsha Wallace Co-Founder, Dining for Women
My recent tour of the Northeast region was a dream come true,. It began with visits to the National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, N.Y., and Susan B. Anthony’s home in Rochester, and ended with dinner at friend’s apartment in New York City, where I had the privilege of spending the evening with Gloria Steinem.
I was thrilled to be able to share the mission of DFW with Steinem, who remarked that our model of fostering meaningful connections and thought-provoking dialogue among our members “is how the feminist movement gained momentum. …Making enough room for discussion is critical for deepening our understanding of the issues.” Details