Eyes of the world is defined by its commitment to the world’s most vulnerable populations who suffer from avoidable blindness, and to equitable and sustainable human development. For this reason, it places gender at the center of its processes and projects of cooperation —actions for development are more effective if they take into account gender inequalities.

In every society, imposed gender roles affect the lives of people, and in third world countries gender roles almost solely determine the destiny of each person. In these countries, women suffer infections that affect their ocular health, but due to the cultural constructs that surround each of the sexes, women cannot access ophthalmological treatment as society restrains them.

Through our 17 years of experience, in the Sahara as well as in Boloviia, Mali, and Mozambique, we have found that women are the nucleus of the family, but even so, they have less opportunities to access their right to ocular health due to social barriers.

In poor countries, women do not usually have access to family financial resources, and as a result they cannot pay for eye care or transportation to health centers, and overall, they have less opportunity to travel than their male counterparts.

Data indicates that 55% of the population with serious visual deficiencies are women, and in impoverished countries, men access services for ocular health twice as often as women. The primary reason for loss of vision in these countries is cataracts, a disease that can be cured with a relatively simple surgery. If women with cataracts were operated on in the same proportion as men, blindness from cataracts could be reduced by 12.5%.

Eyes of the world wants to guarantee the right to ocular health for all, and wants women to have the same opportunities and resources as men when it comes to accessing this fundamental right. To complete this objective, the Foundation collaborates with and will continue to strengthen ties with local feminist associates and will guarantee a gender perspective in all its projects.

In this sense, the Foundation aims to integrate the gender perspective in all phases and all areas of action and specifically to develop a gender policy that includes actions on the ground and at the organizational level.

Communication is also a key aspect of social transformation, and therefore, Eyes of the world has incorporated a Gender Equality Communication Manual and will begin to train all its team members in the use of non-sexist language, while at the same time reviewing its contents online and offline to ensure a gender focused perspective is used.

Woman eye testing

©Elisenda Pons/Obrint els ulls a Bolívia