ashainitiative®. 2018

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USAID reports that:

 “Globally, one out of three women will be beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime, with rates of abuse reaching 70% in some countries…  Gender-based violence (GBV) also affects other marginalized groups, including persons with disabilities and the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender (LGBT) community.”

 

USAID further reports that:

“In agriculture, women make up more than 40% of the labour force, but only represent between 3 to 20% of landholders. In Africa, women-owned enterprises make up as little as 10% of all businesses--and in South Asia, only 3%. And despite representing half the global population, women comprise less than 20% of the world's legislators.”

 

The Global Poverty Project reports that:

“Women make up half the world's population and yet represent a staggering 70% of the world's poor. We live in a world in which women living in poverty face gross inequalities and injustice from birth to death. From poor education to poor nutrition to vulnerable and low pay employment, the sequence of discrimination that a woman may suffer during her entire life is unacceptable but all too common.”

 

 

ASHA believes that gender equality and women’s empowerment fall squarely within human rights issues that must be promoted and guaranteed.

 

ASHA is committed to the UN Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

 

The Convention places on all 186 signatory countries, an obligation to respect, protect and fulfil women’s human rights. In particular, discrimination against women is defined as:

“any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field.”

 

Against this back drop, ASHA through various Initiatives (for example EWOF) works tirelessly to highlight, challenge and remedy all forms of violence and discrimination against women and girls. 

 

 

  • ASHA/ EWOF works with local communities, schools, village chiefs/ elders and other rights movement to educate and raise awareness about working to eliminate prejudices, customary and other practices that are based on notions of women’s inferiority or stereotypes;

 

  • ASHA actively opposes and vigorously works with local law enforcement, anti-trafficking agencies and embassies/ consulates to detect, combat and suppress/ eliminate trafficking in women and sexual exploitation in all its form;

 

  • ASHA joins forces with all like-minded organizations and initiatives working towards the elimination of discrimination against women in marriage and family life;

 

  • ASHA is working to create and operate a sustainable virtual school for rural women and girls to tackle the problem of literacy and vocational skill acquisition among those marginalized group;

 

  • ASHA echoes the spirit and provisions of CEDAW and calls on signatory countries in its areas of operation to ensure that men and women enjoy the same rights in the areas of:

    •     Entry into marriage; Choice of a spouse and consent to marriage;

    •     Responsibilities during marriage;

    •     Dissolution of marriage; Parental rights and responsibilities;

    •     Decisions on the number and spacing of children, and access to information in this regard;

    •     Guardianship and adoption;

    •     Choice of family name, profession and occupation; and

    •     Property ownership

 

  • ASHA opposes strongly the practice of Child Marriage and joins the UN in ensuring that Article 16 of CEDAW which requires States to ensure that “the betrothal and marriage of a child has no legal effect” is enshrined in local legislation.

 

  •  Research shows that when a Child is forced into marriage, it prevents her from living a productive life. Yet… 1 in 7 girls in the developing world, married before her 15th birthday, with some child brides as young as 8 or 9 (USAID).

 

  • When a child is impregnated within a child marriage setting (due to pressures to prove her fertility) the results can be disabling and fatal. According to USAID,

    “Their bodies are not yet ready, resulting in greater maternal and new-born morbidity”. Additionally, “married girls under 15 are five times more likely to die in childbirth than married women in their 20s. They are also more likely to experience complications of childbirth including obstetric fistula and hemorrhaging”.

 

  • ASHA calls on all states where it operates to “set and enforce a minimum age for marriage, and require [all forms of] marriages to be officially registered”.

 

  • ASHA lends full supports to the UNDP’s goal to:

    “Ensure that women have a real voice in all governance institutions, from the judiciary to the civil service, as well as in the private sector and civil society, so they can participate equally with men in public dialogue and decision-making and influence the decisions that will determine the future of their families and countries”.

  • At ASHA, we believe that when women are empowered then they can truly contribute to their household income and decision-making, on issues of food, goods, property, children's education, healthcare and debt management.

 

  • ASHA supports victims and survivors of all forms of discrimination against women including forced marriage, honour-based violence (HBV) and gender based violence (GBV). ASHA will work to set up places of safety and refuge or abused women in its areas of operation.

  

What we do to help