International Women’s Day has become not just a day to celebrate women and their accomplishments but a day of unity. A global call to action to bring women together in support of each other. Today, around the world, women are fighting for their rights to make their own choices, to have their voices heard, and for their seat at the table.
At Same Sky and the Francine A. LeFrak Foundation, our work empowers women to use their voices and creates opportunities for them to showcase their talents. We learned that whether it’s a cooperative in Rwanda, a homeless shelter in East Harlem, a college campus, or a prison re-entry program, extraordinary progress is made when women come together. It is a proven fact that economies grow and poverty decreases when women are able to participate in the workforce.
Now as we face the digital frontier, women are fighting to be included. The World Bank estimates that 75% of jobs will be related to the STEM area by 2050. That is why we created the Women in Tech Scholars to get more women jobs in the tech industry, and the Same Sky Scholars program supports girls’ STEM education. Access to education and workforce development programs is how we are helping more women join the tech boom.
Lesley Stahl of 60 Minutes recently featured SOLA, a school in Rwanda founded by Shabana Basij-Rasikh, an Afghan Refugee, to educate girls who have lost their right to attend school in Afghanistan. Shabana aims to educate girls to become Afghanistan’s next generation of leaders. Shabana said that the girls could safely attend school without worrying about that right being stolen from them or, worse, being punished. They found a welcoming home in Rwanda because women have a seat at the table there and understand the important role women have in a community’s prosperity.
As we celebrate all of the achievements we have made as women, we must remember our sisters across the world who need our support to amplify their voices. Remember, no matter where we call home, we are all under the same sky.