International Women’s Day – March 8th – is just the beginning of an ongoing recognition, call to awareness and cause for celebration of women and women’s issues around the world. But the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day goes beyond more recognition of issues. This year’s theme is encouraging action, speaking out and stepping forward to better manage and ultimately overcome the interrelated challenges women’s health, welfare, and social and economic progress.
Among the essential goals of IBM’s Corporate Service Corps (CSC) is to help empower women in developing countries in all areas of their lives – particularly in healthcare.
When women have access to good healthcare, their children continue to attend school, their families are strengthened, and they are more productive in the workforce and
Three recent CSC projects speak directly to problems facing millions of women and their families – deterring cervical cancer in Peru, eliminating mother-to-child HIV transmission in Ghana, and helping to reduce violence against women in Mexico.
- Cervical cancer is the third most common cancer in women worldwide, and is the leading cause of death for Peruvian women aged 15 to 64. Hardest hit are impoverished women from the mountains surrounding Cusco, where nearly 40 percent of cervical cancer patients will die from a disease that is treatable if detected early. CSC collaboration with BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company) for the CerviCusco Cancer Clinic is helping the clinic expand its awareness and reach to engage, educate and treat Cusco’s underprivileged women.
- Ghana has more than 27,000 children with HIV and AIDS, and each year close to 1,000 newborns begin life with HIV. IBM CSC is working with Ghana Health Services and the Yale School of Medicine to identify, treat and track pregnant mothers with HIV. The goal is to reduce Ghana’s mother-to-child HIV transmission rate to one percent by 2020 through protocols that other sub-Saharan African countries will be able to emulate.
- Violence against women is a social epidemic around the globe, including in Mexico. In Toluca, the CSC worked with the Mexico State Prosecutor’s Office (IAPEM) and the Office of the Attorney Specialized in Domestic Violence (FEVGEM) to develop strategies to improve the IT systems that support enforcement of anti-violence laws and provide services to survivors. Our recommendations included ways to make it easier for support personnel to identify, charge, and prosecute domestic abusers.
International Women’s Day is an important milestone in the global recognition of issues that affect all of us – especially women. IBM Corporate Service Corps is proud to contribute our company’s time, talent and technology around the world every day to help women and their families lead better and more productive lives.
Gina Tesla directs the IBM Corporate Service Corps program. The initiative deploys teams of IBM employees from around the world with skills in technology, scientific research, marketing, finance, human resources, law, and economic development. As part of their assignments, they work with local government, non-profit civic groups, and small business to develop blueprints that touch issues ranging from economic development, energy and transportation, to education and health care.
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