Today, March 8, marks International Women’s Day and Volunteering New Zealand (VNZ) supports this effort and the UN theme: Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030.
According to the World Economic Forum, at the current rate, the gender gap will not close until the year 2186. This is too long to wait, and is a call to action.
Paid work is not the only indicator of the gender gap. According to the World Economic Forum political participation and power, education, and unpaid work that often goes ignored are also part of the gap.
VNZ Chair Karen Smith says, “One of the changes we can look at is better understanding and respect for the range of contributions that women make in society – whether that’s in paid employment or in the informal sector, volunteering, and other service in their community.”
“Volunteering can be an important aspect of women both gaining experience and developing confidence and knowledge that they can then take into the broader society,” Smith says.
The Bonn Call to Action from 2016, calls for volunteers to be a part of the solution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, stating “We recognise that communities must be at the centre of their own development, and that women and young people must be fully engaged.”
Volunteering can foster empowerment. The UN Population Fund articulates women’s empowerment as “women’s sense of self-worth, their right to have and determine choices; their right to control their own lives; and their ability to influence the direction of social change,” and we see that, worldwide, volunteering can expand those choices by providing opportunities for skill sharing and development and providing access to social networks that might not otherwise be formally available.
Volunteering shows that everyone has something to contribute and provides an opportunity for people to play fuller roles in their communities by making use of their skills and capacities.
Volunteering New Zealand (VNZ) is an association of national volunteer-involving organisations that have a commitment to volunteering. Their mission is to maximise the impact of volunteering in our communities. www.volunteeringnz.org.nz
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Chief Executive, Volunteering New Zealand
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