We know we’re on to something special when we hear Australia’s Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, calling for the empowerment of women through education.
In her article “More than a Woman” (March 2016 Vogue), Bishop notes that “Women make up the majority of illiterate adults worldwide. An estimated 545 million women over the age of 15 years lack basic literacy skills: almost 65 per cent of the total number of illiterate people worldwide”.
Bishop discusses Australian economic initiatives already successfully in place in Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea – such as mobile banking and credit services – which provide security and business opportunities for women in their local communities. To further facilitate this grass roots education, aid and basic support services such as counselling and shelter, Bishop has appointed Natasha Stott-Despoja as Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls.
We applaud Bishop’s recognition of women and our vital role within the community which is currently “significantly under-utilised”. Bishop is intending to change this with $745 million in educational aid in developing countries.
Bishop’s vision validates the importance of The Sunflower Foundation and others like them.