Walk in her shoes this March

By Efrosini Costa

Millions of women and girls in developing countries are burdened by hours of walking each day, a cycle which sees them unable to escape poverty.

While many of us struggle to take enough steps during the day, for those in the developing world, walking eight kilometres a day is a gruelling and necessary task.

Often, these 10,000 plus steps are made through torrential rain or blistering heat while carrying essential supplies, which can include up to 20 kg of firewood, food supplies and water – for many of them the daily walk can also be dangerous to their safety and wellbeing.

Fundamental to the survival of their families, this lived daily reality for women and girls in the developing world entrenches their status in the poverty cycle. The hours spent walking reduces their time and ability to attend school, gain an education, as well as access essential health services and earn an income.

This often means women are the most disadvantaged and impoverished members of poor communities. The simple act of walking only further entraps them in the devastating poverty cycle.

Consider these facts:

•    Of the world’s poorest people, 70 per cent are women and girls.

•    On average, in developing countries, women and girls travel over 6 kilometres each day to collect water. They carry around 15-20 litres per trip.

•    Two out of every three children who are not in primary school are girls.

•    Women produce 50 per cent of the world’s food, but only own one per cent of its farmland.

CARE Australia, an international humanitarian organisation, hopes to change all of this by asking us to walk in the shoes of these women and girls. By walking 10,000 steps a day for a week from March 18-24, you can help empower disadvantaged women and raise money to help them lift themselves out of poverty.

It doesn’t seem like such a tall order when you consider these women walk this much and more each and every day of their lives, not to mention walking is great for you too.

“It’s amazing how taking these simple steps can help start change. For example, $35 raised can provide fruit trees to a community which supply nutritious food close to home, while $60 can provide clean water for a family so they don’t have to walk to collect it, and $1,500 can provide malnourished children and pregnant women in remote communities with health services for one year,” says CARE Australia.

If you’re feeling super motivated, you could even try exceeding the daily target of 10,000 steps, or try running instead of walking.

Spread the word and get your family and friends involved. You can even register as a local neighbourhood walking or running group.

And the best part? You wont be alone – in fact, you’ll be joining a long list of celebrities and ambassadors including: Kate Ceberano, Chrissie Swan, Gail Kelly (Westpac), Pip Russell (Totally Wild), Beki Lee (Olympian racewalker), Claire Tallent (Olympian racewalker) and Craig Mottram (Olympian long-distance runner), who are all joining the cause.

Singing up to the Walk In her Shoes campaign is easy and simple to do. Just register online at http://www.walkinhershoes.org.au. The $15 registration fee will see you receive a free pedometer to help you monitor your daily steps and reach your target.

Registrations close at 11.59pm on Thursday 21 March 2013.



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