In modern wars, it’s dangerous to be a woman. During the Rwandan genocide, up to 500,000 women were raped, sexually mutilated, or murdered. Today, across the Middle East, roughly 7,000 Yezidi women have been kidnapped and subjected to sex slavery at the hands of ISIS. Genocide, conflict, and violence follow us into 2017. In South Sudan, the UN declared an impending genocide where it is estimated 120 women, in any given day, will be raped as an instrument of war and ethnic cleansing. Women are the most vulnerable, the most marginalized, and the most displaced by conflict.
But what happens after conflict? Simply relocating isn’t an answer. Being a refugee often means being unable to work. Families fray. Social networks breakdown. People lose hope.
How do you combat those powerful forces that threatens families, communities, and entire countries? Invest in women. Women have experienced the most atrocious acts of war yet remain resilient. When the world invests in women, women empower themselves and their families. When the world invests in women, they rebuild frayed communities and retake their place as powerful decision-makers in their countries.
What happens when you invest in women? Change. Change looks like investment in families to create healthy, educated future generations. Change looks like women providing stable incomes for their families. Change looks like a reported 35% increase in lasting peace agreements creating stable, inclusive societies where there was war and devastation.
With continued conflict forcing more people to become refugees around the world, it is vital for U.S. citizens to invest in in women and inspire change. The future of peace in Syria, South Sudan, and Afghanistan are at stake. We must recognize that women aren’t just half of the population. They are the bedrock of stable societies, healthy families, and prosperous communities. They are the strength of a nation and strong women build stronger nations. People like you can act now to make a difference for Amel in Syria, Mary in South Sudan and Hakima in Afghanistan. Your investment can change their lives and the world we live in.