There are an abundance of hardships that far too many girls and women around the world still face each day. Dhriti* from South Asia has been down this road. And it is for women like Dhriti why we as TWR join forces with like-minded media partners around the world to share the life-changing, culture-shifting hope found in Jesus Christ.
Particularly in rural areas in certain parts of Asia and Africa, it is expected by the local culture that the woman should embrace an intensive, “my family is all-important” approach to parenting and family-care. Any commitment to education or work is seen as a bonus but not important to a woman’s life path and development. What are the consequences hereof? How would this look like in Dhriti’s life? Her brothers would be encouraged to complete their school education, find work and discover the larger world around them. For Dhriti? Based on her parents (particularly her father’s) will, chances are high that she would already become betrothed to a local boy from her clan or tribe from an early age. Already in teenage years, she would have to drop out of school due to becoming pregnant and having to focus on being a mother to one or – more likely – to several children. This lack of further education raises the risk significantly of sinking into, or remaining, in a life of poverty. Poverty can easily lead to domestic violence, abuse, ill health or early deaths. The prevailing gender norms, which render girls and women unequal in intimate and social relationships, mean that they are unable to negotiate and make decisions about their lives and bodies, for example by defending themselves against the horrific cultural practice of genital mutilation.
According to the organization Global Fund for Women: “Only when women and girls have full access to their rights – from equal pay and land ownership rights to sexual rights, freedom from violence, access to education, and maternal health rights – will true equality exist.”
However, the journey does not stop here. True equality is a wonderful plateau to reach but there is a higher calling beckoning. Without knowing the Creator, a God-sized hole remains in the soul.
When we stand up against the many areas of injustice in our world, we at TWR, together with our dedicated partner ministries, have the internal impact of the vulnerable in mind. The impact becomes clear when women, girls and their families have the chance to come to know the living God. A lasting ray of light pierces the darkness of despair.
The month of March is known for creating awareness to women as can be observed in the International Women’s Day on March 8th, 2020. The theme for this year is “I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights.” This is a great opportunity to bring light to stories of women around the world who are suffering from injustice…and to highlight how it is through Jesus Christ that each life is personally transformed. In turn, this can then lead to societal and circumstantial transformation. One of TWR’s key ministries, Women of Hope, has great impact in sharing the good news to people like Dhriti. Its vision is to particularly focus on bringing the hope found in Jesus to women around the world and across generations. Dhriti shares: “When the Women of Hope radio program airs, we learn about health and get spiritual and godly knowledge. This gives me the potential to improve myself, my family and my community.”
Let us therefore, on International Women’s Day and beyond, remember to uplift our dear sisters such as Dhriti around the world in prayer. May they find true and everlasting hope in Jesus Christ. And may they thrive and transform their communities.
* Dhriti is a pseudonym used for the woman’s safety and the photo is to be understood as a representation.
- Voice of Eternal Love (Ukraine): biblical perspective for women on topics such as family life, abortion, drug use.
- Hidden Treasures (Eastern Europe): an audio drama focused on victims of human trafficking and the topics of shame, healing and hope.
- Hasken Rai/Light of Life (West Africa): using oral teaching forms such as storytelling or drama to reach adults with the hope-filled, culture-transforming message of the gospel.
- Happy Children’s Garden (Cambodia): sharing God’s love for children with encouraging Bible stories as well as focusing on educating children on hygiene and health matters.
- Little Peter the Octopus (Venezuela and other parts of Latin America): sharing the gospel message to children by teaching the value of ethics and morality.
Educational and Informational Links
In many countries, women are disproportionately burdened with household responsibilities, including caring for children or elderly family members.
It is estimated that there are 650 million women and girls in the world today who were married before age 18. During the past decade, the global rate of child marriage has declined. South Asia had the largest decline during this time, from 49 per cent to 30 per cent. Still, 12 million girls under 18 are married each year and in sub-Saharan Africa—where this harmful practice is most common—almost four out of 10 young women were married before their 18th birthday. Child marriage often results in early pregnancy and social isolation, interrupts schooling, limits the girl’s opportunities and increases her risk of experiencing domestic violence. More on this here.