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International Women’s Day

23 February 2024

International Women’s Day is an annual event where people across the globe celebrate women's achievements, raise awareness about gender discrimination and take action to drive gender parity.

The annual event started in 1911 but takes it’s roots from the gender equality protests in New York in 1908, calling for better pay, working conditions and the right to vote. The date was unanimously accepted at the International Conference of Working Women in 1910 and in 1975, the day was formally adopted by the United Nations.

The campaign theme for International Women's Day 2024 is Inspire Inclusion:

When we inspire others to understand and value women's inclusion, we forge a better world. And when women themselves are inspired to be included, there's a sense of belonging, relevance, and empowerment. Collectively, let's forge a more inclusive world for women.

This year’s theme resonates strongly with Lepra’s work in marginalised communities in India and Bangladesh. Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) like leprosy and lymphatic filariasis are thought to disproportionately affect women. Although infection rates are likely similar between men and women, many social factors persist which mean that detection, treatment and recovery for women remains significantly more challenging. Tackling healthcare inequality, deeply held prejudice and fear of the social implications of a diagnosis are a central aim of Lepra’s work in affected communities, and women are leading the fight in our innovative projects and programmes.

Lepra takes great pride in the inspirational women who are leading the fight against leprosy and NTDs. Through the development of pioneering projects, new innovation and technology, our female scientists, researchers, project leaders, medics, physiotherapists, counsellors, community support workers and volunteers are changing the lives of countless people across India and Bangladesh.

Hear Manikyamma and Maksuda talk about recovery and resilience for International Women's Day:

For International Women’s Day 2024, we thank the countless women who for decades have dedicated their lives to the treatment and control of leprosy. Their innovative approach, boundless empathy and extraordinary drive, perfectly embodies Lepra’s values and serve as role models for future generations of scientists, medics, researchers, support workers and community volunteers.

By supporting Lepra, you can help us reach even more vulnerable women, to help provide vital services such as; education and awareness, detection, MDT medication, specialist recovery services, disability management, community self-care, therapeutic counselling, social support, surgical treatments, advocacy, financial support and much much more.