Tag Archives: International Women’s Day

Women at the Forefront of AIDS Vaccine Research

This is an abridged version of a post from Dr. Gaudensia Nzembi Mutua, a research physician at the Kenya AIDS Vaccine Initiative (KAVI) based in Nairobi, Kenya.

Dr. Mutua speaking at the European R&D global health meeting in Madrid, Spain. Photo courtesy of Planeta Salud ©

According to UNAIDS, 59% of all people living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa are women. What is less well known is the immense contribution African women have made and continue to make to HIV-prevention research. The first clues that an AIDS vaccine might be possible came from African women. These were a small subset of sex workers in Nairobi and the Gambia who had been repeatedly exposed to HIV but not infected; they were apparently able to resist the virus. The finding sparked a search—which continues to date—for a vaccine that can teach the body to protect itself against HIV.

Today it is International Women’s Day, a time to celebrate the contributions women have made to HIV-prevention research. Female researchers, volunteers, advocates and decision-makers around the world dedicate themselves to this cause. It is now more urgent than ever that we sustain support for efforts to develop new tools to prevent HIV infection, specifically ones that address the varied needs of women.

A safe and effective HIV vaccine, used in combination with other prevention strategies, is our best hope of ending the AIDS pandemic. But developing new HIV prevention tools takes resources, people, and time—in the laboratory, in safety tests, and in clinical trials. Sustained investments in HIV vaccine research are therefore critical; so is political support.

African women are playing a key role in the global endeavor to stop HIV/AIDS, and in the years to come will continue to be a central force in making an HIV vaccine a reality.

‘Women are useful to microfinance: how can we make microfinance more useful for women?’ – International Women’s Day event in parliament

Members of a rural women's Self-Help Group which offers microfinance services, photo by McKay Savage

Members of a rural women's Self-Help Group which offers microfinance services, photo by McKay Savage

On Wednesday 7th March, the day before International Women’s Day, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Microfinance (for which RESULTS provides the Secretariat) will be holding a parliamentary event titled ‘Women are useful to microfinance: how can we make microfinance more useful for women?‘ The meeting will be addressed by Dr Linda Mayoux, a leading expert on gender and social development, and Inez Murray, Vice-President of Women’s World Banking, the world’s only microfinance network with a focus on women.

Inez Murray, Vice-President, Women's World Banking

Inez Murray, Vice-President, Women's World Banking

The APPG says:

The traditional image of microfinance is of small loans given to poor female entrepreneurs in the developing world. Microfinance institutions have targeted women clients for a variety of reasons: for those institutions that aim to alleviate poverty women are an obvious target group because they are disproportionally likely to be poor; but in addition women as a group have better repayment rates in microfinance, and for many institutions the choice to focus on women is pragmatic. While it is clear that women are good for microfinance institutions, it is not always quite so clear that microfinance is helping women as much as it could be, as we highlighted in our report ‘Helping or hurting: what role for microfinance in the fight against poverty‘. Linda and Inez will speak from their research and experience about how microfinance institutions can most effectively serve their female clients.

The meeting will be held in Parliament from 2-3pm on Wednesday 7th March. External attendees can participate in the event, although places are limited and will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis. To reserve a place please email microfinance@results.org.uk

Paralympian Anne Wafula Strike speaks out on disabled girls’ education on International Women’s Day

Anne Wafula Strike in her racing wheelchairAn excellent article by Paralympian Anne Wafula Strike was published this morning on the Guardian Newspaper’s ‘Poverty Matters’ Blog. The article describes Anne’s experience growing up as a disabled girl in Kenya, and the astounding achievements she has made, enabled by being able to access a quality education. You can read the full article here.

We’re really excited that Anne is going to join us as a speaker at the RESULTS UK National Conference on the 9th April 2011. Anne will speak about education and disability from her own experience, and we’re expecting the session to be truly inspiring. To find out more about the conference and to sign up to attend please see our previous blog post. Continue reading

Celebrating International Women’s Day: 100 years of progress, so much more to do

Women TB advocates Joyce Kamwana and Mamta Jacob meet RESULTS volunteers in October 2010

Today, the world celebrates the 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day.  So much progress has been made on gender equality in the last century, from the expansion of universal suffrage to social and legal reforms promoting equal rights, and from improvements in reproductive health and more girls in education to progress against gender-based violence.

But despite this, gender inequality still features across the world and in multiple walks of life.  In many countries across the world – particularly but not exclusively poorer countries – women are often deprived of basic rights such as education and health.  Continue reading

Why do we need to invest in women and girls to fight poverty?

Some of the RESULTS UK ladies at the 2009 international conference

It is estimated that 70% of the world’s poorest people are women. Women also represent almost 70% of the people currently working in the RESULTS UK office and to mark a special week – that begins today with International Women’s Day and ends on Sunday with Mother’s Day – we are going to highlight the reasons why we need to prioritise gender in all our efforts to fight poverty.

RESULTS UK’s advocacy work is focused on addressing some of the major root causes of poverty such as lack of access to health care, education, sanitation and basic financial services.  All of these issues disproportionally affect females so every day this week we are going to be posting an article that discusses the impact of these issues on women and girls in the developing world. Continue reading

Every day should be mother's day: supporting international women's day

You’ve still got over a week to buy your mum a mother’s day card but just a few days to get ready for International Women’s day!

Monday marks the 100th year of International Women’s day (IWD). Annually on 8th March, thousands of events are held throughout the world to celebrate women’s achievements and also to highlight many of the challenges that women around the world still face. There are a number of ways that you can get involved this year.

Continue reading