Life speaks on International Women’s Day 2021

“A challenged world is an alert world. Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day …”

Today is International Women’s Day. So much has changed in the world since this time last year. Apart from the obvious challenges that have resulted from COVID-19, we’ve also seen increased challenges for women, both in the UK and around the world, who’re struggling with an unplanned pregnancy or the effects of abortion.

Demand for our services has increased massively over the last year and we’re so grateful for the wonderful support we’ve had from our dedicated volunteers who help us to provide these essential life-lines.

“We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality”

The United Nations International Women’s Day website reports:

  • Nearly 60 percent of women around the world work in the informal economy, earning less, saving less, and at greater risk of falling into poverty.
  • Women earn 23 percent less than men globally.
  • Women occupy only 24 percent of parliamentary seats worldwide.
  • One in three women have experienced physical or sexual violence.
  • 200 million females have suffered genital mutilation.

It’s staggering that in the twenty-first century, there are still so many women who experience gender bias and inequality in this way. But when only 24 percent of parliamentary seats are represented by women worldwide, maybe it’s obvious why so many women are facing the risk of falling into poverty.

What we know from our clients

We know from our clients that economic factors, abuse, and fears about future careers are common factors in women believing that abortion is their only option in an unplanned pregnancy. It’s clear to see from these shameful inconsistencies that there’s more pressure on women to have an abortion than ever before. Yet our government’s response was to make abortion access ‘easier and faster’. At the same time, support for mothers who wanted to keep their babies, remained at the same level during this pandemic.

A number of our clients who’ve had an abortion over this last year have told us that they actually felt ‘rushed’, that it wasn’t a decision they really wanted to make, and wished they’d had more time to consider their options.

One of our clients said:

“I didn’t want the abortion … I need to talk to someone about the pain and grief.”
Another client said:

“I’m really struggling with aftermath of my abortion. I was forced into it and really regret it.”

Until, as a society,

  • we can offer strong alternatives to abortion,
  • we can provide genuine equal opportunities for women and mothers in the work place,
  • we can provide adequate protection and support for women affected by abuse,

these pressures will continue to exist and affect the next generation of young women.

“We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements”

Considering International Women’s Day has fallen in the same week as Mother’s Day, it feels appropriate to celebrate the achievements of an amazing mother.

Kristi Kollar from Astoria had her story reported in The Tablet last year.

After becoming pregnant following a sexual assault when she was 17, she was at risk of losing her home and her place at College if she continued with the pregnancy. However, she says that for her, “Abortion was never an option.” Thanks to the support from her father, she now has her daughter Adeline.

Kristi says about her baby, “Having her helped me to get past the trauma, to grow and be able to talk about it.” So today we celebrate incredible women like Kristi, who talk about their experiences and try to encourage support for other women who are in a similar situation.

“Even the idea that one baby can be saved by me saying something is so worth it to me.”

“Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world”

The only way that inequality is ever redressed is when we challenge it. This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #choosetochallenge. An amazing effect that we’ve all experienced during this pandemic is a renewed respect for how special life is and how valuable support can be.

Every single one of us is special and equal and therefore we would challenge you to keep our Helpline number (0808 802 5433) in your mobile phone, so that if you ever know anyone who might need some support, then you’re able to point them in the direction of our help.

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