Women and girls represent half of the world’s population—but in spite of the progress that has been made in bettering their lives, the road ahead remains long.
For the time being, Ndir Seck remains optimistic that both Ladies’ Turn and it's girls will go from strength to strength.
In rural Nigeria, cooking can kill you. According to the World Health Organisation, preparing three meals a day on a traditional wood-burning stove is the equivalent of smoking 20 packs of cigarettes. Little wonder then that each year, some 98,000 women die from the resulting respiratory and cardiac problems.
The world faces many major challenges, from climate change to armed conflict, massive displacement of people, the rise of the far-right and violence within our societies. These require urgent attention and action but none of these pressing issues can be adequately addressed without first facing up to the issue of gender inequality. No society can develop—economically, politically or socially—when half of its population is marginalised.
As the primary users of new agricultural techniques, as green energy entrepreneurs, or simply as those who decide on modes of consumption and behaviour within the family, women are key actors in bringing about change and developing solutions that secure our transition to a sustainable future.
“Sometimes, when I’m operating, I say to myself, ‘but why do I do this?’”, Barbara Wildhaber laughs, as she often does during our meeting. The truth is that the paediatric surgeon doesn’t regret her choice. Each operation she carries out is highly pressurised, but there are benefits. “As soon as I’ve finished an operation, I know that it’s what I want to be doing. The combination of technique, the meticulous nature of operations—where everything is on a bonsaï scale—and then the relationships with parents and the children… It fascinates me.”
The practice of excision is on the decline in Senegal, thanks to the mobilisation of victims and NGOs In Senegal, the law that penalises excision doesn’t hold the weight it could hold, as local customs continue to exert a strong influence.
Edo, one of Nigeria’s 36 states, has practically become synonymous with sex trafficking. Last August, Edo state governor Godwin Obaseki said he had had enough. He announced that the appointment of a high-level task force to find solutions to this scourge.