CARE Australia Chief Executive Sally Moyle takes us through how CARE changes attitudes about gender in communities where women face inequality.
CARE’s work in gender equality is all about achieving long-lasting, transformative change. Whether we are trying to create change on a global scale, within a particular workplace, or in a single home, we work in three domains.
We start by working with individual women to build their confidence, aspirations and capabilities. Helping women understand their potential and the opportunities that exist for them is a vital first step on the path to equality.
The second domain of CARE’s work is institutional change. This means working at a national level to ensure the law reflects equal opportunity and value for women. For example, we know it is not only men’s attitudes that determine whether they will use violence against women – it is what they consider normal in their society. Changing these cultural norms and creating legal frameworks that address violence against women is vital.
The third area is working to change relations between people. And it is crucial. In the 1960s, women thought their problems were individual. They felt alone. Once women started talking, they soon learned that their problems were shared. Quickly they realised that what they thought was personal was actually political.
CARE works with men and boys and community leaders to help support women to change these power structures. From their intimate relations and social networks to the formal arenas of workplaces and markets – we do not assume that women can do it alone.
Without working in all sectors – government, law, workplaces, schools, community organisations and family homes – change will not be transformative. Gender inequality is too deeply embedded and will absolutely resist half-hearted efforts.
It is difficult, frustrating, and wearying – but it is worth the effort, and change can happen fast when things line up.
Helping women become empowered is the single most effective intervention for creating a more equal world, and it’s work that I’m proud to be leading.