Featured Photo: Paolo Patruno – www.birthisadream.org
Today is International Women’s Day which calls upon the world to look at not only the seminal achievements women have made throughout history, but also assess the ways in which women and girls are being perpetually marginalized across the globe through sexist policies and cultural traditions. This sexism is further exacerbated in developing countries according to a new report just released by the ONE campaign, Poverty is Sexist: Why girls and women must be at the heart of the fight to end extreme poverty.
“It’s about time we refocused the development agenda on gender equity as a smart means of unleashing the potential for human, social, political and economic development everywhere,” says Dr Sipho S. Moyo, ONE Africa’s Executive Director. “This being the African Union Year of Women Empowerment, it is our opportunity to seize and promote the advancement of humankind by insisting on policy interventions by our African governments that promote and ensure equal opportunities for women and girls, especially in the poorest countries.
The gender gap between men and women in developing countries is the most pronounced. For example, working women in the least developed countries are three times more likely to be in vulnerable employment than women elsewhere, according to ONE. Additionally, women have 1/3 the literacy rates of men in the world’s poorest countries.
Even when compared with other women in developed nations, poor women in developing countries are still at the bottom of the barrel in a variety of sectors from agriculture to education. In France, 97 percent of women have bank account compare to women in Chad where only 7 percent of women have bank accounts. In richer names over 80 percent of girls are enrolled in secondary education as opposed to girls in poor countries where the percentage hovers around 26 percent.
“When it comes to poverty, everyone suffers — women and men, girls and boys,” says Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook. “But the crushing blow of poverty often falls heavier on females due to the stereotypes and legal shortcomings that stack the deck against them in so many nations.”
Remedying these systemic and cyclical problems requires tireless work across the board from both men and women in both the private and public sectors. Governments need to set national policies that put women and girls at the forefront of economic development in order to not only raise women’s and girls’ future prospects , but to raise the prosperity of entire nations. Data shows that when women and girls are equally employed, resulting in an additional $1.7 trillion in economic output. When women farmers are given equal access to productive resources agricultural output increased up to 30 percent based on numbers released in ONE’s new report.
Why is Now Important?
The positive data that definitely shows that putting women and girls on an equal playing field with men makes lives better for everyone. For that reason, it is eminently critical to ensure that women and girls are included in the upcoming Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that extend and expound upon the Millennium Development Goals that expire this year. The SDGs are slated to create more milestones to eradicate severe poverty by 2030 and will be adopted in September of this year.
What Can You Do to Help?
- Sign ONE’s campaign to stand up for women and girls everywhere.
- Join us for an International Women’s Day Twitter chat with Global Impact on March 13 at 1:00 PM EST. Use hashtag: #HerDAY2105.
- Stand up for transparency and help empower women living in poverty with our partner Oxfam America.
- Donate to our partner BRAC to help women rebuild their lives from the bottom up.
“Poverty is sexist: I see it all the time, too often women and girls are worst hit by poverty and left to carry its burdens, says President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. “But investing in them is also so often the solution. So let’s deliver for women because women deliver.”
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