Sunday, March 15, 2015

Making It Happen: IWD 2015

Each year, March 8th marks International Women's Day. It is a day to come together (regardless of gender) to celebrate the achievements of women while calling for greater equality. Even in 2015, women all over the world (yes, even here in the United States) face major hurdles that not only result in the loss of their potential contributions to society and our shared economy but also violates their basic human dignity and respect for the lives they lead. March 8th is used by governments, organizations, and individuals as day to share how far we've come but also how very far we still have to go. This year, as in previous years, International Women's Day has had a theme: Make It Happen.

That message was heard loud and clear in Des Moines, Iowa – that's for sure!

International Women's Day supporters and allies joined for an evening celebration at the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates in downtown Des Moines on Tuesday, March 10th. The presenters included: Kim Reynolds – current Lt. Governor of Iowa; Dr. Deborah Turner – Vice President of International Programs at Outreach Inc.; Patty Judge - former Lt. Governor of Iowa; Catherine Swoboda - World Food Prize Director of Planning; Laura Krouse – owner of Abbe Hills Farm in eastern Iowa; Hannah Owusu-Koranteng – community activist and founder of WACAM in Ghana; and Barbara Lawton – former Lt. Governor of Wisconsin. Each gave a remarkable and amazing account of how their vision and their leadership has worked and continues to work to build brighter futures not only for women but also for their entire communities. Also in attendance was a 2015 International Woman of Courage award recipient and peace activist Majd Izzat al-Chourbaji who stood against the Assad regime in Syria to work with women and advance human rights. Ms. al-Chourbaji received a standing ovation from the entire room!

The event is about to begin!
The evening's speakers (left to right): Catherine Swoboda, Dr. Deborah Turner,
Hannah Owusu-Koranteng, Barbara Lawton, Patty Judge, and Laura Krouse.
2015 International Woman of Courage award recipient Majd Izzat al-Chourbaji
receives a standing ovation from the room.
Iowa Oxfam Action Corps volunteers

Most definitely – these women have been and continue to be making it happen in a big and much needed way!

In addition to the formal event and presentations given by the speakers, there were several local and international organizations and co-sponsors present to share the work they do for women's empowerment. Without their support, the event would not have been possible and without their presence, the event would have lacked a critical element of community. Together, we're making it happen.

#makeithappen #internationalwomensday #IWD2015 #womensday #paintitpurple #oxfamamerica #oxfamactioncorps