Logo for the Center for Victims of Torture
Expert Voices

International Women's Day: Investing in Women, Today and Beyond

Published March 8, 2024

This year, the United Nations International Women’s Day focuses on the importance of investing in women, citing gender equality as a human rights issue. This is a subject that arises in much of CVT’s work, in many of our locations.

“International Women’s Day is a reminder for all of us about the injustices that women are facing in different locations in our world,” said Noor Zada, global programs manager for New Tactics.

The UN is highlighting four other areas of action, all connected to issues that disproportionately affect women around the world:

  • Ending poverty
  • Implementing gender-responsive financing
  • Shifting to a green economy and care society
  • Supporting feminist change-makers

The latter is a prime example of the way our organization embodies investment in women. The New Tactics program Zada leads supports advocates and human rights activists through strategic and technical support.

While New Tactics is not exclusively for women, Zada shared that over the program’s ten years, several of the initiatives they supported revolved around gender-based issues like farm worker rights, maternal health and adequate health insurance.

CVT also provides intentional clinical resources for women who have experienced violence, including mental health and social work services. However, the clinical interventions are just one piece of the work that positively impacts the women that visit our healing centers.

Sandra Githaiga, CVT Ethiopia clinical program director, spoke to the way CVT’s clinical programming creates safe spaces for women who have experienced harm to foster community.

“They express gender-specific challenges and talk about the vulnerabilities that they have collectively. It is a safe space for them to share their experiences and to seek support from each other. Often we find that the clients in the groups who run through the whole cycle of sessions become friends. That really helps preserve culture and identity and provide that social support and community building,” she said.

“Even just thinking in terms of preserving culture and identity – through the connection with other women in the groups, we have women with shared cultural backgrounds and experiences and were really able to have that sense of identity and belonging.”

It also helps with mental and emotional well-being, and really gives them a sense of emotional support from one another. As they share in the groups, they’re able to hear what the other clients are going through and reflect.”

Sandra Githaiga

In addition to intentional programming and advocacy efforts, CVT invests in women through employment and leadership opportunities, with several of CVT’s programs, projects and initiatives spearheaded by women.

“Throughout my time at CVT, I’ve seen more women coming in, and in positions of leadership. And, the men have really embraced that. When I think of Int’l Women’s Day, that’s what I want to lift up.” Githaiga said.

As an international organization focused on healing, we’ve seen first-hand the necessity of ensuring women receive intentional programming and support and stand behind the UN in their call for investing in women.

“Women are struggling with equality with men, separation from family… you can think of so, so many problems that women are facing,” Zada said.

Then, when you think of women in war or conflict zones, that adds another layer of how much a woman needs to do in order to survive in this world.”

Noor Zada

This International Women’s Day and beyond, as advocates for human rights, we can – and should – address gender-based issues directly to create a better world for us all.

Share this Article

Related Articles