Opportunities for women vary in different parts of the world. In many developing countries, women face major barriers that prevent them from truly thriving.

To address global poverty, we must empower women to access education, health services, nutrition and income-generating opportunities. Global development can achieve greater impact if we can effectively engage and benefit women.

Photo by: Janine Schooley

Photo by: Janine Schooley

This International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating the social, economic and cultural achievements of women worldwide.

Here at PCI, we recognize the critical role that women play in lifting their families out of poverty and transforming their communities. We aspire to apply a gender lens in our program strategies and activities, staffing, partnerships, capacity strengthening, operations, budgeting, monitoring and evaluation, documentation and learning.

Our approach supports gender equity in three key ways:

  1. Applying organizational gender mainstreaming
  2. Integrating gender issues into our existing programs
  3. Prioritizing gender-specific programs

Women Empowered

Across the globe, we’re working to promote social and economic opportunities for women through our Women Empowered (WE) Initiative. And we’re committed to continue engaging and empowering women to be change agents in their communities.

Hear from PCI staff on why women’s empowerment and gender equality are important:

Lydia Mafhoko Ditsa
Gender Advisor, Botswana, PCI

“Women’s Rights are Human Rights too. We all have a role to play to end Violence Against Women.”

Kelly Fish
Technical Advisor, Gender, PCI

“For me, my work on gender and gender-based violence is very much who I am. I am ever increasingly passionate about the work I do and finding innovative strategies to bring more organizations, programs, and individuals on board with me to really effect positive social change. In my capacity as Gender Advisor, I see my role to not only advise on programs, but to also help ensure PCI embraces gender equity organization wide, from HR to operations to country programs, beneficiaries and beyond. I am encouraged by PCI’s great leadership and initiative!”

Photo by: Summer Williams

Photo by: Summer Williams

Lauren Galvin
Program Coordinator, RMNCH and Gender, PCI

 “My time in the Indian Himalayas, living with Buddhist nuns (and among Buddhist monks), and carrying out research on maternal mortality, really opened my eyes to the presence and repercussions of gender inequality. I observed the discrepancies between teachings promulgated in Buddhist texts versus the actual reality of engendered social hierarchies on the ground. Women face gender-based socio-cultural barriers to the healthcare they desperately need and it’s critical that we reflect on the causes behind the lack of access to quality care and strive to overcome them, using multiple approaches. PCI is currently navigating through a gender audit process that will guide us in developing and implementing standards of practice that will promote greater gender equity throughout the organization. This process has helped and will continue to help staff become aware and gain a better understanding of subtle gender inequities that implicate (and impede) all of us, which will in turn enable us to achieve excellence at all levels of our programming. When the specific patterns of gender relations in an organization are uncovered, it becomes possible to work within the organization to change the unequal patterns and to reinforce the equalizing ones, making the organization more gender responsive.”

Photo by: Natalie Lovenburg

Photo by: Natalie Lovenburg

Kennedy Kitori
Senior Community Mobilizer, Tanzania, PCI

“Gender equality provides equal opportunities for both men and women, it supports women’s empowerment at home or workplace.”

Blanca Lomeli
Country Director, Mexico, PCI

“I was raised by a strong mother and a father that believes in equality, even if I didn’t have a name for it when I was growing up. I began to learn about gender equity by reading about the topic during the first International Conference on Population and Development, back in 1994; then I started to learn about gender and gender equity. I began to understand how gender inequality leads to poorer health outcomes in women; but also in men. When we first implemented gender equity projects in Mexico in 1997-1998, I realized how transformational gender equity was as a strategy. The powerful effect it has on women’s sense of self and identity, and how the empowerment process influences self-care and health-seeking behaviors; but much more than that: how culture can change for the better, and how these changes start with the individual and then the family. In the work we do, we don’t assume we are empowering women. We understand that women empower themselves. In PCI, we see gender equity as a relational issue. There are reasons (cultural, institutional, political) why women have less power in relation to men, who usually have more, and are more valued. And fortunately, there are things we can do to change things for the better. Gender equity is after all, a human right. Our work in PCI seeks to help participant women and men in the communities see their lives through a gender lens. Understand equity not as a concept, but as a reality of their daily lives. One of the things I love more about the gender equity work we do is that by default, this work tends to try to see the best in people and assumes that change is possible.”

Photo by: Gesler Castillo

Photo by: Gesler Castillo

Anusy Mkome
Administration Assistant and Driver, Tanzania, PCI

“Behind every successful man is a woman who is getting ahead of him! Three cheers to the woman of tomorrow! Happy Woman’s Day!”

Wences Msuya
Healthy Coordinator, Tanzania, PCI

“Women are concealed heroes of the WORLD – therefore a call for everybody to make women visible!”

Alloyce Renatus
Senior Community Mobilizer, Tanzania, PCI

“Ensuring gender equality is a must, it begins with challenging our own mind set.”

Photo by: Tony Tseng

Photo by: Tony Tseng

Janine Schooley
Senior Vice President, Programs, PCI

“I love that PCI doesn’t just pay “lip service” to issues of gender, either in our operations or in our programming. I love that we have a Gender Mission Statement that articulates our view that applying a “gender perspective” to everything we do is absolutely critical. Equity and inclusion, whether male or female, are key to achieving the kind of sustainable impact that we aim to achieve. Engaging men in maternal and child health and nutrition and addressing the unique and pressing needs of men in terms of the health concerns and violence they are particularly at risk for, are also part of our gender vision and I love the fundamental equity in that approach. I love that for PCI, gender means going beyond thinking of women and girls as victims or vulnerable, although that is often the case; it also means that we strive to unleash the great power that inherently exists in women and girls to serve as agents of social transformation.”