The Rights of Women

The Rights of Women 2017-01-08T14:08:20+00:00

PCI’s Global Efforts to Support and Sustain the Rights of Women

“I do not wish them

[women] to have power over men; but over themselves.”

― Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

In 1792, Mary Wollstonecraft wrote what is now considered a classic of feminist history. In her book, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Wollstonecraft argued for the rights of women to be educated.

“In defending this right, Mary Wollstonecraft accepts the definition of her time that women’s sphere is the home, but she does not isolate the home from public life as many others did and as many still do. For Mary Wollstonecraft, the public life and domestic life are not separate, but connected. The home is important to Wollstonecraft because it forms a foundation for the social life, the public life. The state, the public life, enhances and serves both individuals and the family. Men have duties in the family, too, and women have duties to the state.” (

To say the least, Mary Wollstonecraft was ahead of her time in her way of thinking. Significant progress has been made since her book was published, but even now – in many parts of the world – human rights of women today are limited, and in some places, education for women is prohibited. Much work still needs to be done. PCI is on the front lines, creating and implementing programs to ensure that women all over the world area getting the help and guidance they need.

Here are some examples of PCI’s global efforts to support the rights of women and children living in developing communities around the world:

Hope for Women (Ethiopia)

Women and girls living in Ethiopia’s nomadic pastoralist communities of Afar suffer from a broad range of human rights abuses, including female genital mutilation, child bride practices, lack of education and domestic violence. PCI’s project “Hope for Women,” or Tesfa le Setoche, aims to protect and promote women’s rights. Initially created as a two-year project, the U.S. Department of State recognized the value of PCI’s program interventions and extended the project so PCI could replicate its success in three additional areas of Afar. In 2009, project activities more than doubled the enrollment of young girls in school.

Mobilizing to End Violence (South Africa)

The rights of women in Africa are severely compromised by the frequent instances of violence against them. Statistics show that one in four South African women experience violence from their partners. In addition, while only a small percentage of rapes are reported to police in South Africa, the country still has one of the highest rates of reported rapes in the world. In response, PCI and local partners are mobilizing many segments of society in an effort to change the social norms and deep-set beliefs that keep violence against women alive. Through the 16 Days of Activism mass media and outreach campaign in 2009 and again in 2010, PCI increased public awareness of these harmful beliefs and issues, as well as its link to the spread of HIV. The daring campaign, one of the first of its kind in South Africa, has reached millions of people through messages disseminated via massive billboards, mobile billboards, media coverage and advocacy events. During the Prevention in Action campaigns nearly a million people have also made a personal commitment to stand up against violence.

SHE Movement – Strong. Healthy. Empowered. (United States)

SHE is a group of ambassadors who dedicate their efforts, time, energy, skills, and “hands on experience” to benefit and support PCI programs throughout the world. Through the synergy of the SHE program, we work together to find innovative ways to ensure women are able to live lives that are strong, healthy and empowered.

SHE members reach out and support PCI’s programs in the local community, and have the opportunity to participate in vision trips, volunteer internationally, as well as attend locally hosted educational events and social occasions.

Gender Equity Commission

In alignment with the universal values of respect, equity and justice, and our commitment to people and the concept of human rights, PCI formed a Gender Equity Commission nearly 10 years ago. Its mission is to contribute to achieving equality of opportunities for health and human development for the women and men with which we work and serve around the world. We adopt a gender perspective as we proactively identify areas and opportunities for improvement, and implement projects accordingly, thereby allowing individuals to fully achieve their potential, without the interference of gender-based bias, inequity or injustice.

While working towards equity, we embrace differences between women and men and focus on optimizing the potential of all human beings, men and women alike.

We are committed to achieving equity through the activities we implement, the systems we set up, the organizational policies we adhere to, and the organizational culture we foster.

We recognize that to achieve equity, changes are needed, and acknowledge the fact that true change starts from within each person. In our own organization and in the communities we serve, we share our commitment and work towards gender equity in respectful and clear ways, while respecting individuals’ rights to be uniquely different and to make his/her own decisions.