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International Women's Day 2024

On 8 March, women all over the world celebrate International Women's Day, which this year has been given the UNESCO motto "Investing in women: Accelerating progress". Of course, Switzerland and Europe still have a lot of catching up to do in terms of gender equality, but in the context of 8 March, we are invited to look beyond our own backyard and show solidarity with women all over the world. This is sorely needed, as a recent study by UN Women shows that only 0.2% of international aid funds are specifically earmarked for women and girls and for combating sexualised violence.

As you know, most of our clients are survivors of sexualised violence and the facts are sad. Sexual violence as a weapon of war is unfortunately a current reality: be it the war in Ukraine, the Hamas attack on civilian women in Israel, but also current newspaper reports of attacks by Israeli soldiers on Palestinian women. Knowing that, combating sexual violence in the context of armed conflicts, among other things, should be high on the political agenda. This heinous weapon of war is used in all armed conflicts worldwide and we don't usually hear about these human rights violations here in Europe.

This contrasts with the new report by UN Women which states that less than 1% of international aid funds worldwide are earmarked for combating gender-based violence. In 2022, countries around the world spent 204 billion US dollars on development aid. Of this considerable sum, only one fifth of one per cent (i.e. 0.2%!) was spent on combating gender-based violence. This is according to the study "What Counts? The state of funding for the prevention of gender-based violence against women and girls", a new report by UN Women.

We experience how destructive gender-based violence is through the stories of our clients. A society is shaken to its foundations and the traumas of the women affected are passed on for generations. This is another reason why SAO's work is particularly important. In our centres, our clients can not only be sure of a peaceful environment in which they can regain confidence step by step. Our psychologists provide them with long-term support in coming to terms with their traumas and looking to the future with strength. Our social workers guide them through the Greek asylum and administrative jungle. Some find the strength to take the next step and learn Greek at the same time as dealing with their trauma, while others need more time and encouragement to find their way into the society of arrival.

Over 108 million people worldwide are refugees, around half of whom are women and girls. The fact that only one fifth of one per cent of the money spent on development aid worldwide is used for women is outrageous and far too little. The protection of women and girls must finally be given a higher priority on the political agenda. This year's International Women's Day is also about investing in the future of women and girls. It has been proven that projects by and for women are more successful, as women are more committed to the community and to future generations and are therefore more careful with money. Investing in women's projects is therefore also financially worthwhile, as more can be achieved with the financial resources provided and the projects are more likely to become self-sustaining in the long term.

Your donation to SAO is also an investment in women. We make sure that the money we receive has an impact and benefits the women in a professional setting. As the women's future remains uncertain even if they are granted asylum, we place great importance on supporting our clients in developing livelihood skills, i.e. specific skills that will enable them to earn their own income later on (languages, computer skills, handicrafts, etc.). Our work is therefore in line with UNESCO's motto for this year's International Women's Day: With us, you are investing in women and their future. Thank you for your donation!


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