International Women's Day
March 8 is International Women's Day. International Women's Day has gained a multitude of meanings since the UN promoted it in 1975.
It's a recognised holiday in Nepal.
It's a celebration of how much has been done to promote women's rights.
It's recognition that there is still so much to do.
The theme of IWD 2014 is "Equality For Women Is Progress For All". There is a strong link between the welfare of women and welfare of their children and community.
How important is women's literacy? According to the UN:
Plus, children are fifty per cent more likely to survive past the age of five if their mother is literate.
A woman can earn an extra twenty per cent of her wage if she spends one extra year in school.
If the average wage of working women was raised to the average wage of working men then the GDP of many developing and developed nations would increase dramatically.
So, to sum it up, an increase in women's literacy would lead to more women who are independent and confident enough to have control over their own lives, more families breaking out of the poverty cycle, and more countries with a better chance at a stable economy.
Yet, at the moment, absolute poverty means very few of the most vulnerable girls have the chance to go to school. Sixty three per cent of illiterate youth are female. Poverty also means girls are more vulnerable to slavery and underage marriage.
To put it lightly, it's not a pretty picture.
On the bright side, there are organisations and charities working hard to make a difference.
This one, for example.
The women in our Kathmandu centres are particularly vulnerable as many of them have a disability; 77 per cent of Nepalese women with a disability have no access to education.
They are taught all the skills necessary to make the lovely goods you buy from us.
They are also given literacy classes.
This means women like Suraya Maya, who was recently featured on our Facebook page, can take control of their lives and can access a better standard of living for themselves and their loved ones.
Seven Women understands the importance of women's education and employment and we are proud to support International Women's Day.
The facts and images I used here are from the UN International Women's Day site. They also have more information about the day, including official events.
If you would like to support our efforts towards this issue you can go to www.sevenwomen.org and donate or purchase a handmade product.