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April 2015 Newsletter


A Letter From International Women's Initiative CEO


It is official: Hillary Clinton is running for the US presidency. She'll need the enthusiastic support of female voters if she is to shatter the ultimate glass ceiling and become America's first female president. She is to speak on Tuesday April 14th, the day feminists have dubbed "Equal Pay Day" to mark when American women finally earn enough to make up for last year's pay gap. Typically, Equal Pay Day is used to call for more government action to protect women from what is characterized as widespread discrimination. But if Clinton wants to reach beyond her base, she should take a different tact.


Rather than parroting the tired trope that women receive 77 cents for every dollar a man earns for the same work, she should talk honestly about the trade-offs women face, the value of their sacrifices to support family and communities and the need for a culture that truly respects both women and men.


First, it's time to acknowledge once and for all that Equal Pay Day rests on a false premise. The Bureau of Labor Statistic calculation that underlies the feminist holiday simply compares the earnings of full-time working women and men. It doesn't take into account the many factors — numbers of hours worked, industry, education, years of experience — that impact compensation.


Wage gaps exist in every developed country and in the most committed, liberal workplaces, including Barack Obama's White House and in Hillary Clinton's own former Senate office. That's not because Clinton and Obama are secretly virulent sexists, but because women and men tend to make different choices when it comes to work life, which led to women taken on position with lower pay.


Discrimination does occur, of course, and women certainly face unfair obstacles in some workplaces. Old-boy networks, such as those in banking and tech industries, can unfairly discount women's contributions; biases against women, particularly working mothers, may contribute to the stubborn dearth of women at the top of corporate America. Women and men alike should reject discrimination, expose lingering sexist attitudes and strive to create work environments that respect women and fully value their contributions.


Female leaders like Hillary Clinton, however, do women no favours by implying that American women are doomed to be consistently and significantly short-changed throughout their careers. Far better for women to understand that the choices they make — about what to study, what fields to enter, how much time to take off from their careers — will primarily determine their earning potential. After all, our goal shouldn't be for everyone to all work and earn exactly the same, but for men and women to make informed choices about how to use their time and talents.


Women's contributions to society, not just their earnings, deserve our respect. American women have made tremendous progress. More needs to be done. Mrs. Clinton can help us down that path by moving beyond '60s-style, women-as-victim feminism and becoming a strong voice for true equality.


With all of that being said.....GO HILLARY!!!


With Gratitude,

Aubrey Shayler
CEO & Executive Director, IWI

IWI News


IWI Survivor's Blog Highlights

Over the past month, writers and photographers of IWI Survivor’s Blog have addressed many important issues, among them are:

  • The institution of marriage in Uganda makes it difficult for women to leave unhealthy and/or violent relationships. When a woman is married in Uganda, her suitor often pays a bride price to her family. In the future, should she want to leave the marriage, she must repay the bride price. Uganda’s current Divorce Bill illustrates women’s need for supportive structures to help them overcome historically and socially rooted injustices. For more, visit post. (Article by Isabella Seibt).
  • On March 26, UK Parliament signed into law Modern Slavery Act 2015, which simplifies offenses for traffickers, and increases the sentence to life imprisonment. But human trafficking is still a large issue throughout the world. Human trafficking is believed to be the second largest source of illegal income worldwide. Statistics from Stop the Traffick suggest that each year between 600,000 and 800,000 people are sold as modern-day slaves, with approximately 80% of victims being female and 50% minors. To read more, visit post. (Article by Andrew Lord).
  • Have we progressed since the Beijing Declaration of 1995? The fight for gender equality cannot be led by women alone. The only way to advocate for gender equality is by changing social norms, socio-economic policies, barriers to progress and altering the mindset of men, particularly those within privileged positions to eradicate patriarchy within the society we live in. To learn more, visit post. (Article by Vincentia Osabutey-Anikon).

Our Survivor's Blog is an open window for exploring issues related to women's rights and development globally.  We have called it the Survivor's Blog because we find it vital for stories from survivors around the world to share their experiences in a forum alongside supporters.  All posts are monitored by Victoria Womersley, IWI's Blog Editor.  If you are interested in contributing a blog piece or have any suggestions, these can be sent directly to her at


International News

New Palestinian Constitution for Equality-U.N.

Young Palestinians are drafting an alternative constitution to allow for more gender equality. Amani Thawabta, 24, along with a group of 26 young men and women are working together to form a constitution that points out the gender inequality of the current constitution written only by men. For full article visit website.

Turkey educates women to prevent breast cancer-U.N.

Breast cancer is the most widespread cancer among women in Turkey and there are an estimated 30,000 new cases each year. Turkey is making strides to raise awareness and educate rural women through the Cancer Early Diagnosis, Screening and Information Centre in Eskisehir. To read more, visit website.

Female activists released in China after being held for weeks-NY Times

Five female activists were released from detainment in China on Monday, April 13. The women were arrested in March for trying to start a campaign against sexual harassment on public transportation. The women, known by some as the “Feminist Five,” have sparked international outcry. To learn more, visit website.

Human rights defenders face violence in Afghanistan-Global Issues

Women’s rights activists in Afghanistan have made huge human rights gains over the last 14 years, but are being abandoned by their government in the face of violence. There are laws protecting women in Afghanistan, but they are poorly enforced. For more, visit website.

Volunteer with IWI

We are looking for the following roles!
  • 2 volunteer photographers
  • Corporate Relations Assistant

  • Graphic Designer

Contact for more details.

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