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Meghan Markle shocked a school in the United Kingdom with a surprise visit, asking the men to honor the women in their lives.

Prince Harry’s wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, visited the school Friday to offer an International Women’s Day message.

“You have your mothers, sisters, girlfriends, friends in your life, protect them,” she said. “Make sure that they are feeling valued and safe. And let’s all just rally together to make International Women’s Day something that is not just on Sunday, but frankly feels like every day of the year.”

The surprise visit took place at the Robert Clack Upper School in Dagenham in east London. The community was the site of famous strikes by female sewing machinists at a Ford plant, an equal pay fight depicted in the 2010 film “Made in Dagenham.”

In one of her final duties as a senior British royal, Meghan urged the boys in the school assembly of 700 students to “continue to value and appreciate the women in your lives and also set the example for some men who are not seeing it that same way.”

In February, a spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex told People: “The Duke and Duchess will be spending their time in both the United Kingdom and North America. In addition to continuing to work closely with their existing patronages as they build a plan for engagements in the U.K. and the Commonwealth throughout the year, the Duke and Duchess have also been undertaking meetings as part of their ongoing work to establish a new nonprofit organization. The details of this new organization will be shared later in the year.”

The Duchess of Sussex asked for a male volunteer to offer his thoughts on the importance of International Women’s Day.

Aker Okoye, 16, raced to the stage, greeting her with what appeared to be an air kiss to her cheek.

“She really is beautiful, innit?” he said as he took the podium. “I had to speak the truth there.”

Meghan gave him a hug and later praised his “incredible confidence.”

Source: Fox News

To celebrate International Women’s Day, an all-female flight crew from Ethiopian Airlines flew from Addis Ababa to Washington D.C. The flight marked the sixth consecutive year the airline has made the symbolically important flight with a female crew.

“Ethiopian Airlines aims to show African girls that there are no professions reserved for men only and inspire them to have no limits to their dream of becoming anything they set their hearts to,” said Rahel Assefa, marketing vice president for the airline. “In short, as we say back home at Ethiopian, on this day we fly to inspire.” 

The largest airline in Africa has made hiring women a priority and said 40% of its employees are female including 32% of management positions. The airline has female pilots, aircraft technicians, engineers, flight dispatchers, load controllers and ramp operators.

Rahel said too often on the African continent girls are taught that their only worth is to be married and live a domestic life.

“When their brothers are sent off to schools, girls are mostly held back at home, to help out as well as groomed on how to be a good wife, a good mother, a good homemaker,” she said. “Much work is needed to educate parents and communities in general, that their daughters can be anything and everything their sons can.”

Captain Amsale Gualu, who piloted the transatlantic flight, became the first female captain in Ethiopian history in 2010. She said it is important for women to support one another in fields whether they are underrepresented.

“The main thing is networking. Women should have a connection among one another and exchange ideas,” she told VOA’s Amharic service. “The other thing is supporting each other. For example when we fly with an all-female crew, even when there are standard procedures, there are things that make you happy.”

Amsale said at the time of the first all-female flight in 2015, there were only eight female pilots at the airline. Today, she said, there are 20 with another 24 training in aviation school.“

The change has come. Women support each other, we have our own groups and we show that it is possible. And by supporting each other, showing that it is achievable is our responsibility,” she said.

‘Educate a woman, educate a nation’

Ethiopian Ambassador to the U.S. Fitsum Arega said the country’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has made it a priority to promote women to positions of power. His cabinet is made up of 50% women and the country now has a female president and chief justice of the supreme court.

“There’s an African proverb that says, ‘if you educate a man, you educate one person. If you educate a woman, you educate a nation,’” Fitsum said. 

He added that empowering women is a boost to the nation’s economy.

Ethiopian Airlines cabin crew members wait to get onboard the plane before takeoff at Bole international airport in the capital…

FILE – Ethiopian Airlines cabin crew members wait to get onboard the plane before takeoff at Bole international airport in the capital Addis Ababa, Nov. 18, 2015.

“When half of the population is empowered with higher education and actively engaging in the workforce in the formal economy, this accelerates technological innovation, productivity and economic prosperity, which in turn will have a far-reaching multiplier effect on families, communities and the entire nation,” he said. 

Hostess and team leader on the flight Bizuayehu Yilma said there was a special feeling on board. She hopes it inspires women worldwide.

“Any woman can reach any position she aspires to reach,” she said. “This is not charity but the duty or the responsibility of all. Everyone should support us. This is a show of our strength and how we can stand on equal footing. So I think that we have given a big education to all.”

Source: VOA

In commemoration of the International Women’s Day, the Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (ARDD) celebrates the achievements of the women’s rights agenda, particularly the implementation of Jordan’s National Action Plan (JONAP) on the UN Resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and Security.

Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security reaffirms the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peace-building, peacekeeping, humanitarian response and post-conflict reconstruction, while stressing the importance of their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts to maintain and promote peace and security, according to the UN’s website.

The ARDD, on behalf of Jordan National NGOs Forum (JONAF), represented by the Arab Cultural Forum, brought together representatives from the government, security agencies, educational institutions, representatives of civil society organisations and diplomatic missions in Jordan at Al Hussein Youth Sport City to mark the event, according to an ARDD statement.

The ARDD acknowledged the efforts of women in the armed and security forces, as well as the role of civil society organisations in advocating for gender-specific priorities and needs in the implementation of the JONAP, the statement said.

Within this framework, the ARDD is partnering with UN Women to encourage “strong, confident and passionate women” who believe they can make a difference in their societies and are able to join efforts in peace and security in their communities. This initiative is being supported by the governments of Canada, Finland, Norway, Spain and the United Kingdom, according to the statement. 

“The authorities in Jordan have committed themselves to adopting UN Resolution 1325, and Jordan initiated the creation of leadership institutions to empower and enhance the role of women in the country,” Basil Al Tarawneh, head of Al Nahda Arab Cultural Forum, was quoted in the statement as saying.

Samar Muhareb, CEO of the ARDD, said in the statement: “Jordan has made several achievements in terms of involving women at all levels. However, additional efforts are needed to enhance their participation in the strategic decision-making process, especially in light of regional humanitarian crises, which are affecting women and girls severely.”

The ARDD’s research on “Jordanian Women in the Context of Conflict Prevention and Resolution”, issued in November of 2019, revealed a “positive influence” of young women in promoting a culture of peace and tolerance in their communities.  It also showed that women’s self-perception is an “influential factor” in their motivation and willingness to engage in their communities, noted the statement.

“Evidence shows that women’s empowerment and participation contribute to sustainable peace, security and economic growth. Through the implementation of Jordan’s National Action Plan on UN Resolution 1325, we are promoting civil society and women grassroots’ direct and meaningful participation towards the full achievement of its objectives in an inclusive manner,” said Tamar Tavartkiladze on behalf of UN Women Jordan.

Col. Khaleda Al Twal, Chief of Public Security Directorate’s Women’s Police Department, highlighted the department’s focus on equal pay in order to promote gender equality, in adherence with UN requests.

Salma Nims, secretary general at the Jordanian National Commission for Women, highlighted the active participation of Jordanian civil society organisations in the implementation of Resolution 1325 and their partnership with security agencies.

Source: The Jordan Times

United Overseas Bank and Prudential Singapore launched a financial solution for women in Singapore that combines a savings account with complementary medical insurance for six female-related cancers.

United Overseas Bank (UOB) designed a solution for women who may not be placing enough emphasis on their own financial and health needs such as the 37 percent who put the needs of their loved ones before themselves, according to a 2017 survey by UOB and Prudential Singapore. Among married women, this figure went up to 52 percent. The survey also found that close to one in two women (45 percent) say they want a savings account that comes with free critical illness protection.

To help women protect their wealth and health, UOB and Prudential Singapore have worked in partnership to offer women a dedicated savings account that comes with free coverage for six female-related cancers. The coverage amount is based on their monthly average balance over the past three months.

Multiple Responsibilities

For example, if the account holder saves between $50,001 to $75,000 on average over the past three months, she will receive $75,000 in coverage. If the account holder saves more than $100,000 on average, the sum assured increases to $200,000.

«Women in Singapore today juggle multiple responsibilities, including our careers, parenthood, aging parents, relationships and community involvement, and often this means our own wellbeing takes a backseat. Even as more women are placing a priority on growing their savings, such as our female customers who have increased their current and savings account balances by 20 percent in the past five years, more than one in four women are still not sufficiently protecting their savings with insurance in the event of a critical illness,» Jacquelyn Tan, Head of Personal Financial Services Singapore, UOB, said the UOB Lady’s Savings Account was created with the intent to help women take care of themselves so they would not have to exhaust their personal savings in the unforeseen event of a cancer being diagnosed.

Help for Female Consumers

The UOB Lady’s Savings Account will help female consumers to fill the gap for medical insurance coverage in their financial portfolios. While each individual needs an estimated $316,000 in critical illness protection needs, the average Singaporean only has $60,000 in coverage, leaving a gap of $256,000.