In pursuit of parity
Like equal rights pioneer Martin Luther King, we too have a dream. It’s a simple vision of a world where women in every country enjoy the same status and opportunities as men. A time when gender equality is at last a reality in countries where, shockingly, the statistics still make difficult reading. We’ve been working towards realising this vision for almost 100 years, by educating communities, campaigning the causes we know are crucial for economic empowerment for women, and lobbying governments to act. Our mission might vary in response to new challenges, or those of different countries at different times, but our goal is unchanging – to secure equality of opportunity across the Commonwealth.
Back in 1925, when we began life as the British Commonwealth League, our inspiration was the suffrage movement and its fight for women’s right to vote. Today, that same passion is ignited by causes of a more contemporary kind – the fight against sexual violence towards women and girls, fairer access to healthcare for marginalised women, and greater parity of female representation in national parliaments. While this remains just 23.7% globally, it’s little wonder the UN statistics on gender equality around the world are as distressing as they are.
Yet progress has been made. Lives have been changed, and are changing still. Every girl protected from FGM; every woman spared routine domestic violence; every community where women can join the workforce; every country where women are represented in parliament – every victory, however small, makes our work worthwhile.