Elevating Women, Activating Agency
The IMAGO Insider, Vol 2 Issue 2

Image from Brave Girls, discussed in detail below.

At IMAGO, we strive to contribute to the changing practices and thinking in international development. This issue of the IMAGO Insider highlights an area we have always been passionate about: uplifting women. Here we explore feminine leadership in the workplace, a few pervasive problems impacting women globally, and two inspiring initiatives elevating women. 

Feminine Leadership

Is being women-owned and led sufficient to constitute strong feminine leadership? The short answer is, no. While being women-owned and led is the major key to bring feminine qualities to the forefront, alone, it is not what makes a company exemplary. The reality is that it takes daily practice at an individual and collective level to embody the positive aspects of feminine leadership, and when it is practiced well, it can bring balance to our predominately masculine way of interacting with the world. Learn more from Antoinette Klatzky (Eileen Fisher Leadership Institute).

Speaking of the feminine at work: Pixar has a new short film on toxic masculinity in the workplace. Check out "Purl" here

Gender Equality: Persistent Challenges 

Gender-based violence. According to UN Women, one in three women experiences physical or sexual abuse in her lifetime. Most research findings indicate that great strides have been made in fostering awareness about violence against women globally, but behavior change remains difficult. One tool that could help: behavior change communications. Initiatives that have used this communications strategy include the Men's Story Project, which uses storytelling and community dialogue to explore ideas on masculinity, and "Orange the World: #HearMeToo", that includes men and boys to become agents of change. Hear Transparency and Accountability Initiative's Edith Mecha talk, and read more here.

Cell phone access. Mobile devices are crucial to participation in the modern economy, yet there is a global gender gap in access to cell phones, with women lagging behind men, especially in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Learn why this is the case from Jeni Klugman (IMAGO Senior Advisor), and why it is so difficult to address.

Clean water. The lack of WASH (Water, Sanitation and, Hygiene) facilities can prevent students from attending school, which paticularly affects girls. Adding to this challenge, girls must spend most of their day fetching clean water, leaving them less time to engage in other activities such as studying, working, or attending to their children. In conflict areas, gathering water is even more difficult as women and girls must walk long distances to gather water, placing them at a greater risk of falling victim to violence and rape. Learn how the provision of WASH services globally can be accelerated by combining both technical solutions and placing poor people at the center of the work from Nicole Hod Stroh (IMAGO Israel).

Economic Opportunity. Fortunately, the gap in education levels between men and women has shrunk in some countries; however, gender equality in terms of access to economic opportunity remains a persistent problem. Why is this the case? Hear from IMAGO Senior Advisor Ana Revenga: Different use of time, different human capital, and discrimination could explain it.

Maternal Health. Maternal mortality is a global issue. But as of late, international attention has turned to the United States' high rates of maternal mortality. A 2018 report from nine US states revealed that 60% of all pregnancy-related deaths were preventable. Furthermore, the disparity between white and black mothers is even more staggering; according to the CDC, there were 12.4 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2014 compared to 40 deaths per 100,000 live births during the same period. 

Voices from the Field

We are proud to showcase the work of Kasese Young Single Mother's Association (KIYOSIMA), based in Kasese Municipality, Western Uganda. Founding member, Mbambu Dorothy writes, "Our organization was set up in 2009 by five young single mothers in a discussion to highlight their plight because they had been rejected in their homes by their families for having children out of wedlock and yet still in school. . . The purpose was to kick out the injustices against them by their families and their own troubles adjusting to the pressures of social exclusion. We envision at KIYOSIMA,  a world where young single mothers are treated with dignity, and we wish to see their living standards rise." KIYOSIMA is seeking access to vocational trainins, clean water, adult literacy and numeracy skills, and small income generating projects. Learn more from its founders.

Brave Girls, a film directed by IMAGO's Ellie Walton, has  just premiered! Three young women, Karishma, Apsana and Samira, tell their stories about how completing their secondary education represented a seismic shift in worldview and a radical reappraisal of what their lives could become. Suddenly, fulfilling societal expectations came into question when life outside of the house became a possibility. But as final exams approached, their families began preparations for their weddings, and they were immediately forced to choose between their evolving dreams and communal obligations. Filmed over 4 years, Brave Girls explores the urgent questions about the empowerment of women in the developing world from the perspective of the women living those questions and facing the consequences of answering them.

Gender Inclusivity Across the Spectrum

On gender minority rights:

"In almost every country, stigma against a non-normative sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) fuels the social exclusion of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender and intersex (LGTBI) people. In turn, stigma and exclusion limits their access to markets, services, and spaces. Due to this exclusion, these individuals are especially vulnerable to violence, further discrimination, and diminished opportunities in life. Such disadvantages not only prevent them from capitalizing on opportunities to lead a better life, they also rob them of dignity." (Economic Inclusion of LGBTI Groups In Thailand, World Bank). 

Recently, Broadly released a stock photo collection beyond the gender binary. "The Gender Spectrum Collection is a stock photo library featuring images of trans and non-binary models that go beyond cliches. This collection aims to help media better represent members of these communities as people not necessarily defined by their gender identities-people with careers, relationships, talents, passions, and home lives".

News from IMAGO

Last week, we kicked off our first course on scaling up. Couldn't make this time but interest in participating in October? Click here to sign up!

Do you  know of an inspiring organization changing the lives of women or gender minorities? Refer and earn them (and yourself) a discount!

100% of participants who took our initial course agreed that the course helped them answer critical questions their organization is facing as they think of their scaling-up strategy and prepare for the process.

Learn more and register here

To learn more about IMAGO, follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Interested in contributing to our next newsletter on the growing pains organizations face as they go to scale? Reach out to gsloan@imagogg.org.

News from IMAGO

Contributors to this newsletter:

Jeni Klugman, Senior Advisor
Nicole Hod Stroh, IMAGO Israel
Ana Revenga, Senior Advisor
Ellie Walton, Filmmaker

Guest Writers:
Antoinette Klatzky, Eileen Fisher Leadership Institute
Edith Mecha, Transparency and Accountability Initiative
Founding members of Kasese Young Single Mother's Association