Women are 14 times more likely to die in a natural disaster. And those who survive face serious risk of sexual assault and violence in the aftermath. Especially in the dark. Yet something as simple as solar lanterns can change the odds.
Coinciding with International Women’s Day (IWD2018) on March 8, UN Women National Committee (NC) Australia has launched “Leave No Woman Behind” to raise awareness and help people empathise with the dangers women face in disaster, crisis and conflict settings, especially under the cover of darkness. UN Women NC Australia is focusing fundraising efforts towards delivering female focused supplies, training and support to vulnerable communities. In doing so they hope to reduce the number of preventable female fatalities and prevent violence against women and girls following natural disasters.
The pro bono film created by BMF was shown at the International Women’s Day Breakfast held at Sydney’s International Convention Centre, to encourage attendees to donate to support UN Women’s life-changing work empowering women around the world.
Janelle Weissman, Executive Director at UN Women National Committee Australia explains: “International Women’s Day is celebrated annually on March 8 and it’s the National Committee’s biggest campaign of the year. This year’s theme ‘Leave No Woman Behind’ looks at the impacts that disasters and crises have on women and girls. Disasters and conflicts discriminate. Women and children are 14 times more likely to die or be injured in a natural disaster, and in armed conflict, trafficking, child marriage and other forms of violence against women and girls skyrocket. To leave no woman behind is to consider the unique needs of women and children in the wake of emergencies and to include, listen to and respect women’s voices as leaders and agents of change in planning for and responding to crises. It is only then that we give whole communities the best chance at recovering following conflict and disaster.”
BMF Deputy ECD Jen Speirs added: “We hope one woman’s story, told in darkness and shadows will cast light on the fact something as basic as a solar lantern can help reduce the risk of sexual abuse, domestic violence and threats to women in the aftermath of natural disasters. Our donations can help stop these preventable tragedies from occurring.”