How a Woman’s Place Is Leading the Charge

I have recently become involved in a truly exciting initiative driven by women for women. As you know I am passionate about supporting women to be the best leaders they can be and to foster collaborative working and networking that builds relationships and influences change.

Late last year I had the opportunity to become involved with ActionAid and their new global fund called Arise. ActionAid is a global women’s rights organisation, working in over 45 countries to achieve social justice, gender equality andpoverty eradication. ActionAid has a 40 year history, working alongside women living in poverty to empower them to understand their rights and to become leaders in their community to bring about change.

The Arise Fund has been established in response the growing frequency and impact of disasters and conflicts around the world, which are disproportionately impacting women and girls due to existing gender inequalities. It’s hard to believe that women and children are 14 times more likely to die in a disaster. The risk of violence increases and rape has now become a weapon of war. Women also bear the heaviest burden of care in an emergency, such as in the current food crisis in East Africa where women walk increasingly long distances in a desperate search for food and water for their families.

Despite this, time and time again, women step up to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their families and communities when emergencies strike. They willingly take up life-saving leadership roles – roles that too often go unrecognised and under resourced. In crisis, the true potential of women’s leadership becomes clear. The benefits of women’s decision making to everyone in the community is undeniable, particularly those who would otherwise go overlooked. Women’s leadership is inclusive, and ensures equality and sustainability.

Ten years ago ActionAid pioneered the first women-led emergency response initiative and has been using this approach to support women in communities ever since.

Arise has been created to scale up this pioneering work and support women leading crisis response. It is the first ever global fund for women’s leadership in emergency response and preparedness with a long-term transformationalagenda.

Arise turns traditional crisis intervention on its head by putting women at the heart of the response.

It’s about enablingmore women to be prepared for disasters and equipped with the right skills to respond. This means ensuring women first responders access training in early warning systems, damage assessment and the distribution of humanitarian relief as well as consider their priorities for longer termrecovery and reconstruction processes.

It’s the Arise vision that is truly inspiring – it strives for global gender equality. Women leading emergency response has a far-reachingimpact on women’s rights, not only at the time of the crisis,but long after the initial response.

When you know that every dollar spent on preparing for a disaster saves 7 dollars in future losses during a crisis, the Arise Fund is not just ground-breaking but smart philanthropy.  I know my investment in the Arise Fund is saving lives in the community and changing women’s lives over the long term.

Women are remarkable and together we are can do extraordinary things.  It’s an honour to be part of the Arise Leadership Circle, working alongside women who are committed to driving lasting change for women and communities around the world.

The Arise journey is just beginning. We are excitedabout the incredible potential of the collective power of women working together on a national and international scale.

We have an ambitious goal to reach one million women over the next five years and this will take significant funds and support. We can’t do this alone and are seeking partners who share this vision.

Please come along to our launch event in Melbourne. Register your interest here.

Together, we’ll make the remarkable really happen.

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