Fred Hollows stood for equality. In fact, he once said: ‘inequity diminishes us all.’ 

Fred believed everyone, no matter who they are, should have access to quality eye care. International Women’s Day is a timely reminder to continue to invest in women and accelerate their progress, just as Fred wanted for everyone affected by vision loss. 

Since The Foundation began over 30 years ago, we have made systemic improvements to prevent and treat avoidable blindness in women and girls – but we’re not stopping now. 

Worldwide, women are more likely to have vision loss than men. 

While the scale of vision loss among genders is slowly tipping towards an equal balance, women and girls are still disproportionately affected by vision loss. 1.1 billion people worldwide live with some form of vision loss because they don’t have access to basic eye care services – 55% are women and girls. 

This International Women's Day, stand with us as we support women and girls to access the eye health, training and education they need to be independent and help their communities. 

Did you know that Indonesia has the second-highest rate of blindness globally?

This is a significant challenge that is only made worse by a severe shortage of ophthalmologists.  

Sadly, women continue to endure the impacts of vision loss and avoidable blindness, especially in countries like Indonesia. It’s an issue I’m deeply passionate about and a problem The Foundation is working hard to address.  

That’s why today, on International Women’s Day, meet Dr Siti Farida – a remarkable woman who is fighting tirelessly to change this reality in Indonesia. As a former chairperson of PERDAMI NTB, the ophthalmologist’s association in West Nusa Tenggara, Dr Farida is shaping the region's eye health landscape.  

"When I first started here, eye services were practically null. There were no services," she recalls of her beginnings in West Nusa Tenggara. But Dr Farida, like many other visionary women in Indonesia, refused to let this stand. 

Dr Farida's involvement is leading to a lot of positive changes – including the involvement of The Fred Hollows Foundation in the province's eye health program. The Foundation helped train doctors and nurses and supported community eye health education initiatives. 

Now, thanks to leaders like Dr Farida and kind-hearted supporters like you, the majority of ophthalmologists in West Nusa Tenggara are women.  

They are the visionary women of Indonesia, and their work is making a real difference. 

Your support will not only help continue the vital work of these amazing women, but also contribute to our wider cause: a world in which all people, regardless of gender, have access to high quality, affordable eye health care, just like Fred and I hoped for. 

Watch now to learn more about the women who are at the forefront of eye care in Indonesia: