Zoe Sims explains how to weave First Nations values into every day Caring for Country, and One Another
Exploring intersectional environmentalism on the eve of IWD
In partnership with Habitat for Humanity Australia
There are many faces of gender inequality, it’s complex, nuanced and personal. What we do know is gender inequality is intrinsically connected to the climate crisis, not just here in Australia but around the world. When women and girls participate in (and lead) sustainability initiatives it results in more effective climate action. However, women are also being recognised as more at risk to the effects of climate change than men, as they constitute the majority of the world’s poor and are more dependent on the natural resources which climate change threatens the most.
Which is why the UN’s 2022 theme for IWD is: “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow,’’ in recognition of the profound contribution women and girls around the world have made (and can make) on climate change, to create a more sustainable way of life for all living things.
It’s up to all of us to ask questions, to listen and to learn so as to best shift the dialogue.
“International Women’s Day goes beyond being a celebration and a movement, it is a protest to gain gender equality, and although we can appreciate past victories that have brought us to where we are today, there’s still a long way to go in terms of equity sexism and discrimination,’’ social enterprise ‘Habitat Women’ participant, Lisa.
Lisa had lost her confidence after a long-term battle with mental illness. She says when the pandemic hit, her maintenance and home cleaning work dried up leaving her feeling uncertain about her future. But it was a flyer on social enterprise ‘Habitat Women’, a program providing women with the skills to enter the construction industry that caught her attention and ignited a passion and purpose she didn’t know she possessed.
“Before I started the program I had issues with confidence, but now I feel like I am on the right track, it just feels really right,’’ Lisa says.
“It’s only just begun for me but this program has already built up my confidence. I am meeting like-minded women who want to support each other on their journeys, and we are learning together how to navigate the industry and try new things.”
The 2022 launch of Habitat Women is one of many ways Habitat for Humanity Australia, and many social enterprises and charities like it, are creating change at a grassroots level, which if meaningful, is where it needs to begin.
“Habitat for Humanity Australia will soon be building a 9-bedroom emergency accommodation home for indigenous women and children escaping domestic violence. It’s still being finalised but we will be able to reveal more soon.”- Nicole Stanmore, CEO of Habitat for Humanity Australia.
“Through our home building program in South Australia and Victoria volunteers will help rebuild the lives of female headed households or women and children who have been displaced due to domestic violence.”
“Throughout Bushfire Recovery Program we were able to deliver 8 demountable homes to vulnerable families which included several elderly widowed women in the Blue Mountains and Southern Highlands.”
“Every International Women’s Day Habitat Australia mobilises an average of 450 corporate volunteers to refurbish and renovate women’s emergency and transitional accommodation buildings for women and children escaping domestic violence.”
“As international travel returns, so will our Global Village program, which is where volunteers spend a week working with a team of like-minded volunteers from all walks of life, home partner families and local labourers to help construct a new home for a family living in poverty.”
“Some of our International Projects provide training and education for microfinance, business, home loans, sanitation and hygiene for women in the communities we work with. We support women access housing which protects them from discriminatory policies and practices related to land distribution, titling and inheritance.”
“This provides a safe space for women to learn basic construction skills to enter the construction industry whilst providing maintenance services to women’s accommodation services.”
“We’re delivering a participatory and socially inclusive community project in Fiji addressing core water, sanitation and hygiene needs to women, girls and the LGBTIQ+ community.”
If you sign up for the upcoming Village Project VIC, get a 50 per cent discount using code: IWD50
Volunteers will help rebuild the lives of women and children who have been displaced due to domestic violence and volunteers will be restoring hope to families and communities affected by domestic violence and displacement.
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