For some women, the way they are treated and defined is determined only by their gender. As a result, one in three women or girls will experience violence in their lifetime simply because they are female.
Yet no person can be defined in one word.
Limiting the way women and girls are defined also limits the opportunities they are given, restricts the rights they are afforded and affects the way they are treated.
The Salvation Army International Projects Office believes that a world where women are not only able to exist safely but are also given the freedom to flourish is good for everyone. A society where women are empowered to break out of their incomplete definitions and fulfil their potential, leads to stronger, more stable communities.
The Salvation Army is already working with women around the world to give them support to know that they are cherished, as well as the skills and knowledge so that they are empowered and equipped to take their place as equal and active members of society.
SELF-HELP GROUPS IN BANGLADESH
In Bangladesh, The Salvation Army is supporting women’s self-help groups. Group members meet together and save a small amount of money each week. This builds up a communal fund which they can then draw on to start their own businesses or pay for unexpected costs like medical fees.
As part of this project, The Salvation Army is also supporting adolescent self-help groups made up of girls aged between 14-18 years old. A number of the girls were inspired to take part having seen the positive impact such groups have had on their mother’s lives.
One of the important topics these girls have been learning about is early marriage.
In Bangladesh it is culturally acceptable and even expected for a girl to get married during her teenage years. However, early marriage prevents girls from accessing education, it increases the risk of injury or death through pregnancy and childbirth, and girls who marry before the age of 18 are more likely to experience domestic violence than their peers who marry later.
Through the training received in their self-help groups, girls are learning the dangers or early marriage, recognising the importance of challenging this cultural norm and moving their society forward in the journey to preventing early marriage and its consequences.
By supporting the Redefined Helping-Hand Appeal, you can help to ensure this work can continue and that new projects can be established which have gender equality, and the end of gender-based violence as their key outcomes.
Use the Redefined resources to fundraise as a corps, group or individual to support The Salvation Army’s international projects which are empowering women to rebuild their confidence, develop leadership skills and restore their dignity and strength.
Visit www.salvationarmy.org.uk/redefined for more information.