Celebrating equality this International Women’s Day

08 March 2017

International Women’s Day gives us an opportunity to stop and celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. This year we reflected on some of the ways Scope Global recognises the incredible potential of women and contributes to gender equality in our region.

“Throughout my career, I’ve seen the importance of diversity and inclusion,” says Christine Molitor, CEO of Scope Global. “Ensuring women hold an equal role is essential for fair and sustainable outcomes, and for ensuring every person has the potential to reach their full capacity.”

Scope Global provides considerable opportunities for women, both at an organisational level and through the programs we manage for our clients. “Our workplace culture supports women at different stages of their careers and personal lives. Females account for 60% of our board members, more than 60% of our managers and 72% of all staff,” says Christine.

This year’s International Women’s Day theme, #BeBoldForChange, reflects the need for bold global action to accelerate gender parity.

“Through the programs we manage for our clients, such as Australian Volunteers for International Development, Pacific Technical Assistance Mechanism Phase II and Sri Lanka Skills for Inclusive Growth, we’re working towards achieving a more gender inclusive world. This includes supporting education opportunities, gender equality-focused assignments, and building women’s capacity to access tourism markets – just to name a few.”

The following examples demonstrate some of the ways these programs are supporting women’s empowerment in our region.

 

Reproductive rights for rural women in the Solomon Islands

Program: Pacific Technical Assistance Mechanism Phase II (PACTAM2)

Access to reproductive health rights is an ongoing challenge for women in the Solomon Islands, and better access to the emergency contraceptive pill is essential to address the consequences of violence against women.

PACTAM2 advisers working in the Ministry of Health and Medical Services worked with the National Medicines and Therapeutics Committee to improve availability of the emergency contraceptive pill in rural health clinics and make pregnancy tests available from area health clinics. They also supported the addition of the contraceptive implant (Jadelle) on the Essential Medicines List.

These three activities are a significant policy shift in supporting access to reproductive health pharmaceuticals. Equally, attitudinal shifts to recognise family planning and accessible contraception on the Essential Medicines List is a significant cultural shift for the Solomon Islands Government, and will deliver important results for women.

PACTAM2 is an Australian Government Initiative, managed by Scope Global on behalf of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

 

Building women’s capacity to access tourism markets

Program: Sri Lanka Skills for Inclusive Growth

Skills for Inclusive Growth supports sustainable job creation and business growth along tourism value chain, including the informal sector, in four districts in Sri Lanka. The program, launched in early 2017, will prioritise disadvantaged groups such as the underemployed – particularly local women, youth and people with disability.

A range of social factors contribute to low participation of women in direct tourism businesses in Sri Lanka. Skills for Inclusive Growth will work in a concerted way to identify underlying drivers of gender inequality. It will contribute to enhancing women’s voices in decision making, leadership and peacebuilding, and promoting women’s economic empowerment.

As the program gets underway, a Gender Equality Strategy will be developed to better understand specific issues facing women in engaging in the tourism value chain and skills development opportunities. The strategy will look at practical ways the program can work to most effectively support women’s participation in the sector, with an aim to improve overall outcomes for women.

Scope Global manages Skills for Inclusive Growth on behalf of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

 

Wonder Women bringing smart technologies to Indonesian villages

Program: Australian Volunteers for International Development

Yayasan Kopernik is a Bali-based organisation with a focus on finding smart solutions that reduce the impact of poverty on people living in remote areas of Indonesia and South East Asia. Anna Northey is volunteering as a Communications Adviser at Kopernik, working with the communications team to reach diverse, increasingly complex audiences. She is supported by the Australian Volunteers for International Development program.

Kopernik’s ‘Wonder Women’ program upskills female micro-social entrepreneurs to build their own businesses, selling these clean energy technologies within their communities. The women learn new skills, such as marketing and accounting, which help them to make a margin on the sales. And of course, the people in their communities benefit from the technologies they buy.

One of the great things about the Wonder Women program is its emphasis on providing women with opportunities they wouldn’t have access to otherwise. These women are keen to secure a better future for their families and peers. A key successes of the program is that it often builds greater confidence among these women.

Kopernik works in some very remote parts of Indonesia that are still lacking access to so many things. In these areas, the program offers alternative ways to grow income, provides useful products that improve living conditions, and makes a genuine effort to empower women and lift them out of their often disadvantaged positions.

Scope Global is a delivery partner for Australian Volunteers for International Development, an initiative of the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.