putting our money where our heart is

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Questioned Stats Encourage Positive Debate


While trying to verify these stats, I learned so much more about women working around the globe!

This past Saturday was International Women’s Day and so I dedicated some time to reading up on women’s issues around the globe and participating in a dialogue with friends on Facebook. I’ll blame starting a new job for not being more active this year. Last year I asked friends to vote on a woman’s organization to donate to and through the act of listing the worthy causes, I’d like to think my friends and I helped raise awareness of groups dedicated to helping women locally and internationally.  I donated to the most chosen organization (Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter) and some friends matched my donations as well. I was able to reference that list this year when a friend asked me for advice on women’s groups to give second-hand items to.  I’ll include the list at the end of this post.

While I wasn’t involved in a fundraiser or specific awareness campaign this year, I still found the time spent reading featured articles of the day very enlightening. Two things struck me, 1) that people still argue as to whether or not we need International Women’s Day, and 2) that in many countries and possibly on average around the globe, women are the majority sex in the work-force.

One of the articles I read was called “Why Do We Need International Women’s Day?” which I found on Linkedin. I really enjoyed the article. What I found disturbing were many of the comments. Why do I read comments? They always get my back up! One man wrote that advancement of women means that men will be displaced. Once again, I found myself wondering what planet I was born on and why now?  Why on earth couldn’t I have been born 300 years from now?  Assuming of course more time and evolution will solve all of our problems 😉

I believe the advancement of women will only benefit all of us, women AND men. And to the many people who are still asking why we need the day, I think the info-graphic at the top of this post goes a long way to answering that question. Well, that is of course, if it’s true!

I’d hate to be proliferating false statistics so I wanted to address the issue of verification.  I found it shared on many websites and on this one in particular,, the author had this to say, “I have copied it from others (we bildegooglet it and it has been used in many places, but none provide any real source) but the statistics are UN figures and are included here.” (Please note, the website had a lot of interesting and provocative articles and I encourage you to check it out – just know that you have to right click and translate to English as it’s a Norwegian site.)

The “here” in the link above is to UN Women where you can lose many hours, as I did, to their wealth of articles. While this article didn’t specifically defend the above info-graphic line by line, it did reveal statistics that I had never read before. I wanted more information about this line,

“Women are half the world’s
population, working two thirds
of the world’s working hours.”

I sought to find evidence of this and there were several references to this on UN Women.  These are some of the statistics I found that bolster that claim (all of which are credited on the site):

  • In some regions, women provide 70 percent of agricultural labour and produce more than 90 percent of the food
  • In Cambodia, more than 90 percent of garment workers are women
  • Women constitute 50 percent or more of migrant workers in Asia and Latin America
  • Women constitute around 60–80 percent of the export manufacturing workforce in the developing world
  • In export processing zones in the Philippines 80 percent of workers are women
  • In Nicaragua’s export processing zone, female labour is prevalent

Anecdotally, I can tell you that women were the majority by far in my last three workplaces (charitable sector) and I live in Canada so it’s not a huge stretch of the imagination to consider how this might be true in the developing world. Of course, on the other side of the dirham, in the Arab states, women constitute only 28% of the workforce.

Setting aside that debate for now – and if anyone can shed more light on this to either defend or dispute the stats in question, “I look forward to your letters,” as Craig Ferguson would say – I’d like to share a few more links I came across on March 8th:

And lastly, my list of organizations that support women locally in Vancouver’s lower mainland and internationally as well (some offer support to men AND women while others are dedicated to women only):

Happy Pink Monday!


P.S.  Another great stat from UN Women:

“If the average distance to the moon is 394,400 km,
South African women together walk the equivalent
of a trip to the moon and back 16 times a day
to supply their households with water.”

P.S.S.  That link to the YWCA article on Women Who Lead also has an amazing info-graphic with fantastic quotes, my favorite of which was:

“Work hard, step up and speak up, and speak out on things that matter.”
Janet Austin, CEO, YWCA Metro Vancouver

Ok, bye this time! Really, for real.
Theresa 🙂