IWD 2014

There is no doubt we still have a long way to go for gender equality in the workplace, but I do believe that International Women's Day is a day for celebrating our successes and the progress we continue to make.
On International Women's Day, ladies everywhere celebrate breaking the glass ceiling in industries of all kinds. And while the global tech industry has copped its fair share of criticism as being male-dominated, in the heart of Berlin's booming start-up scene things are starting to change.
What was it like when you got your first period? Cramps? Stained trousers? Sudden panic that someone might KNOW? Now imagine what that would have been like if your school were in a developing country, without a proper toilet or sink to wash your hands in. For millions of girls and young women, this is reality.
This weekend we mark the 103rd International Women's Day. It's an opportunity to celebrate women's social, economic and political achievements and, just as importantly, to highlight the barriers to full equality that still exist, more than a century on.
It is your first International Women's Day. At seven months old, you are oblivious to the notion that our sex has struggled for equality. You do not know this day has been marked out in calendars annually for over a century. You understand nothing of the battle women fought to be treated fairly.
I have just returned from 3 days in Kosovo visiting our Women for Women International (WFWI) Programme which focuses on giving socially excluded, poor women access to knowledge and resources, to help them build better lives for them, their families and community.
I am a 26-year-old married mother of five children, including 4 boys and one girl. Growing up, my family was very poor. My father was unemployed, and my mother cultivated land for other people. My mother had 12 children, including myself, but six of my older siblings died. Because my parents could not afford tuition fees for me, I stopped school after 4th grade. Instead, I worked to cultivate my family's fields.
I am an ordinary woman living in Rukara Sector of Kayonza District. My life used to be very hard, the only source of revenue was coming from tailoring from which I could not even raise enough money to sustain our basic needs. Even the sewing machine I was using I was renting for 3,000 Rwandan francs a month.
During the war, my family (my husband, five children and parents-in-law) and I were forced by the Serb police to leave our house. We had no choice but try to escape to Albania. On our way there the Serb forces maltreated us in different ways, by searching us, threatening to kill us etc. But fortunately we managed to cross the border and go to Albania.
One day we received news that an organization called Women for Women started enrolling women in life skills renewal program. I thought there was nothing to be renewed after all those lives have been lost.