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5 ways Red Cross empowers and celebrates women

It’s International Women’s Day so let’s shine a spotlight on some inspiring women who, with barriers removed, show they can achieve amazing success.
Here, we pay tribute to the many remarkable women in our organization or who have used our programs as a springboard to enlighten theirs or others’ lives. In feminine hygiene or health programs alone, we have helped many women remove barriers to achieve great things in their lives.
Providing access to education even through menstruation
Able to attend school all month long with access to sanitary padsIn a project that has now expanded to several schools in South Sudan, more than 1,000 young women were able to attend school by removing a barrier in their education – having access to sanitary pads.
“Now that I have the sanitary pads, I am in school all the time,” explains a student, Angelina, 16. “I love studying Science and English – I am now getting 90 per cent in school. I want to be a doctor one day.”
Read how this Red Cross program helped young women have access to education in No longer afraid to go to school: how access to sanitary pads changes lives in South Sudan.
Breaking down barriers to water
For many women in Tharparkar, Pakistan, gathering water needed for the day meant hard work, spending on average three to five hours a day fetching water from wells. Gathering water takes a toll, both mental and physical – so the Canadian Red Cross, together with the Pakistan Red Crescent, responded by taking an innovative approach using solar-powered water pumps to provide simpler and easier access to water to people in the community. It had a remarkable impact on many people’s lives.
See more in Working closely with community makes solar-powered water pumps project a success in Pakistan.
Mother knows best: Respecting traditions to provide healthcare

In Canada or in Mali, we want what is best for our childrenIn Mali, most infant deaths are associated with diseases that can be treated with medication. What kills babies, among other things, is that these diseases are often detected too late. In Koulikoro, a village where a Red Cross team was working, one of the biggest reasons seemed to have to do with tradition. The team worked with new mothers to provide information on what was best for their babies.
With consultations with community health workers and early vaccinations for infants, in addition to respecting their traditions, the infant mortality rate decreased.
Read more: In Canada or in Mali, we want what is best for our children.
Working in the world’s single largest humanitarian crisis

Maryse Dodard, a Canadian nurse, is working with the International Committee of the Red Cross in Yemen, where 80 per cent of the population needs aid. In Yemen, conflict has led to an overall weakening of the healthcare system and, in this video, Maryse shares what she has encountered there, including a powerful story of a young boy who lost his family in a bombing.

Providing nutrition in besieged cities
Pam Riley, another remarkable Canadian aid worker, tells how she and her team were finally able to enter a besieged city in Syria to provide much-needed help to a population cut off from electricity, telecommunications and humanitarian aid. The team was there to assess the current situation, including the nutritional needs of the population, with the intention to open a nutrition department in the existing Syrian Arab Red Crescent clinic. Read Pam’s words in A first opportunity to visit a besieged city in Syria.

And to build on this success moving foward and to keep the spotlight on women’s health, the Canadian Red Cross and the Red Cross movement will be participating in the Women Deliver conference, the world’s largest conference on gender equality and the health, rights, and wellbeing of girls and women, that will be held in Vancouver in June 2019.

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