Poverty and Women's Empowerment

(Christine Crowstaff) #1

“There is a lot to gain from globalisation and free trade, but to do so one must have the necessary wealth, education and power”.

Worldwide, women and girls make up 70% of the estimated 1.3 billion people living in poverty, two thirds of the one billion illiterate adults, and two thirds of the 130 million children who are not in school.

Yes, women are among those that shoulder the brunt of globalisation’s drawbacks; however we are also the world’s greatest untapped resource for turning the tide on economic injustice.

One woman brings hope to her family. Many women bring hope to humanity.

Research has shown that women are more likely to repay loans in full and on time than men. It has also been established that giving a woman access to primary education will ensure that her entire family receives better health care and nutrition. This indicates that providing equal access to education, credit, property and employment for women, will ensure economic justice and sustainability for all.

According to a 1998 United Nations Development Programme report, 20% of the population in the developed nations consume 86% of the world’s goods.

A 1999 World Bank report states that the developing world spends $13 on debt repayment for every $1 it receives in grants.

In her article “Some 600,000 join millionaire ranks in 2004”, Eileen Alt Powell states that the total wealth of the top 8.3 million people around the world “rose 8.2 percent to $30.8 trillion in 2004, giving them control of nearly a quarter of the world’s financial assets.”

In other words, about 0.13% of the world’s population controlled 25% of the world’s assets in 2004.

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund, “While it is estimated that women perform two-thirds of the world’s work, they only earn one tenth of the income, and own less than one per cent of the world’s property".

Ref: Empowering Young Women to Lead Change

Produced by WMCA and Supported by the United Nations Populations Fund, published in 2006.


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