On International Women’s Day—and every day—women lead

Five stories of women who are creating positive change in an uncertain world

Women in Jordan making heart shapes with their hands
In Jordan’s Azraq camp, adolescent girls are designing their own safe space and sessions to talk about the issues they care most about.

The last year has been tough for women across the globe. The COVID‑19 pandemic has exacerbated inequities. Conflict and climate emergencies are on the rise. Women and girls have less access to basic resources, threatening their independence and their earning potential.

International Women’s Day provides a moment to reflect on the challenges that women face, and to be inspired by the women heroes—including Mercy Corps team members, partners, and programme participants—who are adapting, innovating, and improving their communities. With creativity and courage, women are forging the inclusive leadership we need now more than ever.

Here are five of our favorite stories from the past year about women leaders who are challenging the status quo and creating a better, safer world. 

Women on the frontlines of COVID‑19 awareness

Tea industry workers standing together.

In remote northeastern India, living amongst the teeming fields of tea bushes, Jayanti Malik Mura faced a daunting task: how could she help keep her community safe from the spread of COVID‑19? As a community health worker at Borbam Tea Estate in Amgoorie, Assam, Jayanti had the unprecedented responsibility of bringing awareness about a global pandemic to her own neighbours and townspeople. Read Jayanti’s story  ▸

Scaling West Africa’s first female-founded crypto investments platform 

A group of business professionals pose for the camera.

It’s rare to find a tech entrepreneur with a bold, energising vision who is, at the same time, deeply focused on technical execution. The Mercy Corps Ventures team was lucky to find Ejara, a business founded by Cameroonian entrepreneur, Nelly Chatue Diop (bottom centre in the photo). We support this innovative tool which allows people to invest and save in common cryptocurrencies, stablecoins, and tokenised assets. Learn why we invested in Ejara and Chatue Diop ▸

“We can do it by ourselves”: Women lead efforts to reduce flood risk

Women in badabaika, nepal build bamboo spurs to protect their land from floods.

As monsoon season approached, an uncommon sight was found along the Banahara River: a group of women hauling long stalks of bamboo, building a barrier to protect their land. In a village in rural Nepal, when COVID‑19 exacerbated economic hardship, the men had to travel to earn money, leaving the women to prepare for the upcoming rains. Read how and why they took the lead, in their own words ▸

The woman who gave me hope in the midst of COVID‑19

A person holds a block and a round of cheese.

Georgia’s dairy industry is critical to its economy. It’s also one of the few sectors with women at the centre. Mercy Corps team member Nona Samkharadze shares Zeinab’s journey as a cheesemaker and cheerleader for business owners. Read Nona’s story ▸

Three ways our teams are challenging gender norms around the world

Women in jordan making heart shapes with their hands

We know that harmful gender norms play a role in discrimination and perpetuating inequality. Mercy Corps team members share how they are working in their own communities to advance women's rights. Meet Assitan, Yanet, and Jite and read how they are creating change for women and girls ▸

Join us in building a more equitable world.