Today we’re launching our first UN SDG of the Month, focusing on Gender Equality throughout March. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) are an urgent call to action set by the United Nations to improve quality of life and wellbeing for all by 2030.
The staff and Trustees of Northamptonshire Community Foundation have made a commitment to work with our fund holders and donors to show how their investments, time and donations make a local and global impact through these goals. The Foundation has incorporated the goals into its charitable activity and, as part of this commitment, each staff member has partnered with a Trustee to champion a goal of their choosing.
Our Head of Philanthropy Mary Hollands is our staff champion for UN SDG 5: Gender Equality and is passionate about achieving gender equality, empowering women and girls and ending domestic violence.
Speaking on UN SDG 5, Mary said: “Whilst we have come such a long way in terms of gender equality, there is still a long way to go and I’m passionate about igniting this conversation in Northamptonshire. By throwing a spotlight on the inequalities women face every day, we can take the steps necessary to ending violence against women and girls, closing the gender pay gap and ensuring women’s voices are heard.”
Last year, the Foundation launched a series of Community Conversations based around the UN SDGs, bringing together local people to discuss local solutions to tackle these global issues in Northamptonshire. On Thursday 11 March, the fourth of these community conversations will take place. Lead by the Foundation, we will hear from a variety community groups and donors striving to achieve gender equality across the county.
We also have the opportunity to hear about many inspiring stories from women and girls who are doing incredible things to break down gender inequalities and stereotypes.
One particular story that we thought we’d highlight is that of Annabel ‘Abbz’ Thomas. Abbz is a 17 year old student at Tresham College who also happens to be a key member of the Sym Cirrus Kawasaki racing team and competes in the British Superbike Championship’s junior super sport class. Growing up around her father’s collection of bikes, Abbz competed in her first race in the British mini bike series several years ago, placed second and has been hooked ever since.
In 2019, Abz suffered an accident in a race that left her in hospital with a titanium plate in the left side of her face. She was determined to compete again and was back in the saddle just five weeks after the crash, scoring two strong top ten finishes in her first two races back. Her determination to succeed has been a driving force in getting racing fit and she aspires to become Britain’s first female champion.
Abbz said: “I’d say to any girl looking at any form of racing to just go for it. It is a male dominated sport but that doesn’t mean that girl aren’t doing it and doing very well too. A few of us are Junior British Champions and race winners now and I for one have only been encouraged to do what I love doing.”
The Foundation has also formed a longstanding partnership with Avon Cosmetics Ltd. and delivers the Avon Fund for Women and Girls, supporting projects that supports women and girls who are either at risk or victims of violence and abuse, as well as groups that help women and girls who face additional barriers in accessing services.
Monday 8 March is International Women’s Day and this year’s theme is #ChooseToChallenge. Throughout the day, Northamptonshire Community Foundation will be highlighting local people, families and organisations who are choosing to challenge gender stereotypes across Northamptonshire. To get involved, please send a selfie and describe what you’re choosing to challenge to either email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.