What do women want? What We’re Reading on International Women’s Day

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WWRlogocolor_NewWe’re watching two videos that give answers to the question of what women want this International Women’s Day, and finding the answers both urgent and unsurprising: Control over their bodies, and recognition for their work.

Real Voices: Researchers and front-line workers talk about challenges in HIV prevention and reproductive health facing women in this video from the International Partnership for Microbicides, a nonprofit organization that has developed the antiretroviral-based microbicide vaginal ring currently in phase III trials in Africa, as well as a dual purpose 60-day vaginal ring aiming to protect against both HIV and uninteneded pregnancy, now in preclinical development.

Recognize, Prioritize, Formalize Grassroots Caregivers This outstanding video from the Huairou Commission was released several months ago, and it offers a straightforward and practicable answer today, to those looking for ways to “advance the gender agenda” — this year’s International Women’s Day theme. The answer: pay them for their work on the front lines of the global AIDS responses, acknowledge their expertise, and work with them. The video follows 18 African women who attended the International AIDS Conference in Washington last July — one becoming the first actual home-based caregiver to present the challenges faced by these workers who make treatment roll outs possible. Often poor themselves, most work without remuneration, “reaching into their own pockets” as one puts it, to supply the needs of their patients while struggling to support themselves. Efforts to turn the trajectory of the AIDS epidemic will never be realized or sustained unless these workers are supported. The bonus becomes clear, listening to the women: When they are paid, when their skills are strengthened, when their contributions are appreciated, their communities will be stronger.

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