Women and girls make up over 70% of those in slavery today, and gender discrimination is a key factor that drives exploitation. But of the thousands of organizations working to end slavery around the world, very few are led by women or survivors. As a result, their voices and perspectives are largely missing from anti-slavery actions. This needs to change.
At the Freedom Fund, we believe that women and survivor voices should be at the very centre of the movement to end slavery. Last week, on the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, we launched Freedom Rising, an ambitious new initiative to build a powerful and representative anti-slavery movement led by women and survivors.
The event marked the formal launch of Freedom Rising after some three years of planning and development – a very exciting moment indeed. For those who missed it, you can watch a full recording of the event here, as well as a three-minute film about the program below.
We know from our experience supporting frontline organizations that the most effective and sustained way to end modern slavery is to invest in the leadership of those most affected. Gender bias and systemic discrimination are factors that make women and girls particularly vulnerable to modern slavery, and also exclude them from taking on leadership roles in their community. Freedom Rising will directly challenge this paradigm.
As Mary Robinson said in her closing remarks at the Freedom Rising launch, “The events of 2020 have made it clear the world needs collaborative, inclusive and feminist leadership, rooted in the principles of universal human rights and dignity, to tackle the existential threats facing humanity.”
Please visit our Freedom Rising web page to find out more about the program and how you can help support it.
We’re excited to embark on this journey and to invest in the power of representative leadership. I have deep confidence that together, we can transform the anti-slavery movement, and in doing so make unprecedented progress towards ending slavery around the world.