Today we’re celebrating International Women’s Day, a day dedicated to recognizing the progress that’s been made towards gender equality and women empowerment. Although much has been accomplished, we are also looking ahead and recognizing there is much more still to be achieved.

Through our global projects, Thaakat is committed to empowering women and girls to be confident, strong and fearless leaders. Through our Break the Silence campaign we are shedding light on issues people shy away from, but need to be talked about.

Our National Board shares why these initiatives are so important to them.

“The initiative is important to me because it’s something that no one wants to acknowledge or take responsibility for. Around the world, I’ve come across situations where I wish there was more I could do. The reality is that a struggling woman needs the encouragement, laws and support to be able to leave or progress from a terrible situation and unfortunately no one takes that seriously enough. People are afraid to accept the fact of what is happening because it will leave a black mark on their culture or country but if the problem of gender based violence continues to prevail, don’t accept it and push for change.” -Uzma Bawany, Executive Director

“Women, like everyone else in the world, have a right to be heard, educated and respected. Thaakat’s #BreakTheSilence campaign encourages everyone to SPEAK UP for those who can’t be heard, by helping create a world in which women are allowed to achieve their dreams. This cause is important to me because it empowers girls and women all over the world and I truly believe one day these little steps forward will secure a better and loving world.” -Nudrat Zoha, Director of Global Projects

Women and girls shouldn’t need to demand equal rights

“The bigger problem about women demanding rights, equality, and fair treatment is who exactly are they demanding these from? Men? Or other women? In either case, we need to realize these rights and call for fair treatment as these are all basic human rights. Why should women need to demand them? Why aren’t men demanding the same things? Why are they naturally awarded these things, whereas women have been struggling all throughout history. I think a good place to start is in your own home. Make it a point, a lifelong goal to make sure you raise your kids to treat everyone with kindness and respect; not because of their gender, age or status but for the plain fact all mankind deserves to be treated that way. If we raise our children well, then eventually they’ll pass that down to their kids and so on. The cycle will continue and hopefully break down these societal walls of hatred that have been built so high.” -Hina Khan, Global Projects Assistant 

Women’s involvement is the key to success

“Thaakat’s LOVE (Love Over Violence Everywhere) Campaign speaks the most to me. Gender inequality is one of the primary challenges to achieving sustainable development. In my eyes women empowerment is what leads to sustainable development, as empowering women is vital to attain the economic means and criteria needed to achieve sustainable development. The future of our society is dependent on women. Women’s involvement is the key to success, because when you educate women you’re also educating her family and ultimately the society at large. Violence occurs not only in a physical form against women but in economic, political, social, and psychological forms as well. In order to empower women and end all forms of violence against them we need gender equality.” -Aysha Qamar, Campus Liaison and PR/Outreach 

We need more men to join the fight for equality 

“The Break the Silence initiative is such an important cause to me because it’s crazy that rape is the only crime in the world where the victim is blamed rather than the accused. We need to change that. Not only must we empower women to have a voice and be confident, but we need to include boys and men in those conversations as well. Men have an important role to play in both speaking out against violence against women and girls and fighting for gender equality.” -Azka Asif, Social Media Manager

“I’m blessed to have been raised by incredible, educated, amazing, fearless women.  They taught me regardless of gender, race, religion, everyone should have the power to control their own lives and have a right to determine their own choices.  Unfortunately in societies across the world, there are increasing instances of violence, persecution, gender inequality, and restrictions against women.  I strongly feel that as a male, it is our duty to speak out against these injustices and help women to stand up for the respect that they deserve, in the hopes that these small changes will inspire societies to finally change for the better.” –Sufyan Barkat, Funding and Development Officer

Join the #InternationalWomensDay celebration and add your voice to the global conversation. Learn more about Thaakat’s initiatives and help us continue to empower women and girls worldwide.