International Women’s Day 2022: Break the Bias

IESC’s Home Office team works to break the bias.

By David Hartingh, President and CEO

Today IESC kicks off its celebration of International Women’s Day, a global event that honors the achievements of women and raises awareness about issues related to women’s equality. This year’s theme is Break the Bias, which calls on each of us to confront discrimination, reject harmful stereotypes, and break the gender bias in our communities, workplaces, and schools to help forge women’s equality.

At IESC, International Women’s Day presents an opportunity to amplify women’s voices—those of our staff, volunteers, and program participants—and to celebrate the talent, unique experiences, and significant contributions of the women that enrich our work and our programs every day. I would like to personally recognize the women of IESC, including our dedicated staff in the home office and in our global program offices, along with the volunteers and consultants who share their extensive knowledge, tools, and expertise with counterparts around the world. I would also like to acknowledge and celebrate our women program participants—from the hardworking dairy farmers and agri-entrepreneurs in Kenya and Sri Lanka, to the eager young workers in Bosnia and Herzegovina learning in-demand skills for roles traditionally held by men. These women inspire us each day with their resolve, work ethic, resilience, and determination.

At IESC, we incorporate gender and women’s empowerment principles into every aspect of our work, from design to implementation. To tackle the unique obstacles faced by women and girls in accessing economic opportunities, we conduct gender analyses for every program to design customized interventions and develop gender-related targets. We disaggregate results by gender, and we often partner with women’s organizations in the countries in which we work to achieve those results. We also highlight and celebrate the economic achievements of women, further reinforcing the critical role they play in advancing sustainable economic growth. Through our programs, we strive to not just strengthen businesses and economies – but to build more equitable, inclusive, and empowered communities.

The annual commemoration of International Women’s Day also serves as an important reminder that there is more work to be done in pursuit of a more inclusive and gender equal world. Women make vast contributions to the global economy, but are still disproportionately and negatively impacted by discrimination, poverty, violence, exploitation, and other inequalities. According to UN Women, women are more likely to be unemployed, face more barriers to entrepreneurship, are less likely to have access to financial services, and are disproportionately impacted by climate change. Women are also negatively impacted by the gender digital divide and the gender wage gap, earning just 77 cents for every dollar that a man earns, according to the UN Women’s “Turning promises into action: Gender equality in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” flagship report.

International Women’s Day presents an opportunity to reaffirm IESC’s commitment to sustainable economic development that addresses gender inequality. I invite you to join IESC as we break the bias – challenging stereotypes, showing solidarity, and celebrating our differences – to create a more gender equal world, where women have equal access to the tools, training, financial services, and employment opportunities needed to ensure meaningful participation in the global economy. This work is crucial in order to advance equitable economic development for all.

On our social media channels this week, we will be sharing stories and photos that highlight the contributions of women, celebrate their achievements, and lift up their voices. #BreakTheBias #IWD2022