International Women's Day takes place on 8th March and is a day to reflect not only on the progress made for women but it is also a time to call for change. This year the universal theme is 'Press for progress' and we're doing just that by raising awareness of the lack of healthcare treatment women who have a disease may receive. Often because of the stigma associated with diseases such as leprosy, women are hidden away, too scared to come forward and can suffer abuse as a result. 


Rukmini Rao, Chair of Lepra India explains the gender gap and how this affected women who have experienced leprosy in India.

Lives Changed

Kalpana was just 17 when she married her husband. When he found out she had leprosy he was angry and began beating her. Five years later, after being thrown out of her home along with her daughter, Lepra was able to help Kalpana get treatment.

Kalpana's story

Komola's husband also beat her and eventually abandoned her after finding out she had leprosy. She had to beg for food and money but her neighbours also turned their backs on her.

Komola's story

Rachna's family shunned her when she found out she had leprosy. Her family refused to tell anyone within the community for fear Rachna would become hated.

Rachna's story

You can read about what happened next to these women and how they were able to rebuild their lives with our help.

How you can get involved

We will be raising awareness of the challenges many women with neglected tropical diseases face in the run up to and on International Women's Day. We'll also be highlighting the great work many of our female community champions do in places like India and Bangladesh.

There are many ways for you to get involved, one of which is by hosting a life-changing tea. Find out how your tea-party could make a difference to women worldwide by clicking below. 

Host a life-changing tea

For other ways of getting involved check out our get involved page.