Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Women, we need to get together

Can you imagine being denied the opportunity to go to school? Just because you were female?

Or what about not knowing whether you would survive pregnancy, never mind childbirth?

But the sad, desperate truth is that two-thirds of all children denied school are girls and every minute a woman with no medical care dies in pregnancy or childbirth.

These are the situations thousands of women living in poverty find themselves in. Of the 1.3 billon people living in poverty worldwide, more than two-thirds of them are women and girls. But Oxfam is hoping to help change that.

Last Tuesday I was privileged to attend the launch of Oxfam's Get Together initiative to find out how I could help women build a better future for themselves. I went along with some lovely Mumsnet bloggers (@pantswithnames, @hackneydoula, @TheLazyGirlBlog and @EleanorMills). But what could we do to help women in poverty?

The answer was beautifully simple; Host an event on International Women's Day and raise money with friends. That's it. No months of training for a marathon, no jumping out of planes (although these are both valid ways to raise money, just not my cup of tea...but tea on the other hand, with cake...now you're talking!). All Oxfam are asking is that we celebrate International Women's Day on the 8th March by getting together with our girlfriends and finding a way to raise some cash at the same time. Any excuse for a girlie get together!

The Mumsnet Bloggers with Carrie Loughton (Mumsnet co-founder) and the captivating Eleanor Mills in the centre. Picture courtesy of Oxfam.
It was a pretty cool evening, I can tell you. Surrounded by strong women, it was difficult not to feel empowered and inspired. And the amazing thing is, you don't need to raise thousands of pounds to make a real difference.
Oxfam's Get Together ambassador, the luminous Lauren Laverne.
Photo courtesy of Oxfam.

Just £46 will fund training for 1 midwife in Ghana. £46 to save the lives of pregnant women and their children. Surely a wee bake sale could raise that? Sell 46 cupcakes to your work colleagues at £1 each and that will ensure that a woman survives to gaze into the eyes of her new born child. Or stick some extra chocolate sprinkles and a dash of glitter on your cupcakes and sell them for £2 each. Even better.

£135 trains 5 teachers in Mali who can teach over 250 girls and provide a whole generation with skills to work their way out of poverty. Invite 15 friends round for some wine and pampering, each donate £9 each and that's the lives of 250 girls changed. Amazing.

Grace Dent and Caitlin Moran (we talked pubic hair!*) added some strong female oomph to the proceedings.
Photo courtesy of Oxfam.
So, on March 8th I'm going to host my own Get Together. I'm hoping my lovely, inspirational, amazing, beautiful (yes, I'm sucking up...) yoga teacher Rozy (@InJoyYoga) will lend her yoga teaching talent to the event, leading us in sun salutations to celebrate International Women's Day. Rozy has this innovative approach to post-natal yoga that sees each session ending with tea and cake, a format that I'm hoping to steal emulate for my Get Together. I'm hoping we can raise enough money to train 5 teachers and a couple of midwives.

Please help us by hosting your own Get Together. If I haven't inspired you, then take a look at this video and see if that does the trick:

Then get yourself over to the Oxfam website and sign up for your own Get Together party pack. There's balloons and everything! 

You too could help women build a better future for themselves.

*this only makes sense if you've read her book. Otherwise yes, I agree, it does sound a bit bonkers.

I 'm part of the Mumsnet Blogging Network, a group of parent bloggers picked by Mumsnet to review products, services, events and brands. I was not paid to attend this event, but simply asked to spread the word. 

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