Empowering Women Reduces Poverty
Gender inequality has been a major topic of concern since the end of the 19th century and countries around the world have made huge strides to empower women and make changes for gender equality ever since. Yet specifically in developing countries, gender inequality still plays a huge role in women’s lives and has a lasting effect on the economy, environmental degradation and poverty. Here’s how empowering women reduces poverty.

Effects of Gender Inequality

According to The Life You Can Save, one in three people in the world live on less than $2 a day, and 70 percent of them are women. Often, women in poverty have higher fertility rates and zero access to vaccines and health care, resulting in living on even less per day and in more deaths.

Empowering women reduces poverty and makes a huge difference overall for women and their children’s lives. The fact that some women do not have the same rights as men make it almost impossible for them to start businesses, earn an income and have the opportunity to live an independent life. Nonprofit Women for Women states that 25 million women in the Middle East and Africa do not have the constitutional and statutory property rights that men do. This often prevents women from being able to start a business from the lack of financial security and respect from community members.

Ways to Empower Women

Women’s empowerment is crucial to mitigating poverty and allowing women to reach their full potential. Below are several ways how empowering women can reduce poverty, and how individuals can help:

  1. Support charities that are working to educate and empower women and girls. Charities such as Women for Women, Days for Girls and Living Good focus on educating and supplying girls and women with health care, critical skills, counseling and protection from trafficking and child marriage. Charities are vital to helping women and girls who need it and every donation helps to empower women and mitigate poverty. In addition, if people become involved with charities such as Big Brothers, Big Sisters, they have the opportunity to mentor or tutor a young girl in an area close to home and this is a great way to influence the life of an impoverished girl.
  2. Help improve access to clean water. According to UNICEF, girls in poor communities often do not go to school because they spend their time fetching water for their families. Girls walk an average of six kilometers to fetch water that is usually dirty and unsanitary to drink. UNICEF’s WASH program aims to address the inequalities that women and girls suffer in relation to water sanitation. Spreading awareness and supporting WASH is vital for poor communities to receive clean water and for women to have the opportunity to receive an education.
  3. Support the Reach Every Mother and Child Act. The Reach Every Mother and Child Act focuses on helping the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world prevent maternal, newborn and child deaths. According to World Vision Advocacy, around 2.7 million newborns die every single year due to treatable complications and illnesses. The Act will help implement an approach in giving poor mother’s the treatment that they and their babies need in order to survive and live a healthy life. Contacting Congress and supporting this Act can make a huge difference and in saving lives and empowering women.

Change Starts with People

In conclusion, there are plenty of ways to involve oneself in the community and have a lasting effect on young girls’ lives. Empowering women reduces poverty, and supporting charities and Acts that help empower women and make a difference in their lives is crucial to giving women and girls around the world the opportunity to flourish.

– Paige Regan
Photo: Flickr

Why Don't People Give More?
Sometimes it seems that every single non-profit and charity organization is after our money. Whether through sales calls, emails, social media campaigns, most people cannot go a single a day without a request for money or mobilization. Out of frustration and plain confusion many people may just call it quits and drop any efforts of giving to avoid creating a domino effect. However, there are six simple ways of easing the overwhelming feeling and encouraging people to give more. Peter Singer’s The Life You Can Save book and campaign discusses this very topic in hopes of creating excitement around donating time and money.

1- Identifiable Victim

With numbers of those living in poverty falling between one to three billion people, it’s hard to focus in on one victim that a donor’s money would benefit. Many organizations work in different areas and reach out to hundreds and thousands of people. To create a narrow scope, it is more effective to use case studies and personal stories of individuals that have benefited from the donations or will in the future. For example, the microloan organization kiva lists individuals, their stories, and the exact monetary aid they require.

2- Sense of Fairness

It’s the mob mentality at its finest… or worst in this case. In terms of money, people don’t want to be the only ones whose bank accounts diminish (quite dramatic of a worry, especially in the case of your average donor who stays below the 3-digit limit). Regardless, they’ll be more willing to give if they know others are as well. And when referring to others, it doesn’t mean reading headlines or watching videos of celebrities and other millionaires donating. Donors need to see people from their socio-economic levels, or below, opening up their wallets despite the economy, and giving.

3- Parochialism

“It hits close to home” is a common explanation many use as to why they donate to one cause and not another. A valid explanation but this should not limit the geographical scope of where a donor’s money goes to. Using tools such as videos or even bringing donors and donees together, if feasible, is something that will create a stronger human-to-human connection, regardless of where each of them are from.

4- Money

People love it. They want it. Songs have been written about it by Jay-Z and ABBA alike. But when it comes to actually using the word to ask for donations, it’s definitely not a fan favorite. Instead, try asking for time or support that can be given in other ways before asking for money. The key is to show that a difference can be made and that the organization isn’t just looking for financial help (although at some point it will need it).

5- Diffusion of Responsibility

Same with the idea of fairness and the ‘mob mentality,’  its important to illustrate that everyone can and should do their part in whatever way fits their lifestyle. Be careful to not guilt trip a person if a certain method or route is not their choice but be sure to touch on the more positive notion that humans have a responsibility and the privilege of helping those less fortunate.

6- Futility

Certain organizations or programs may not reach a lot of individuals but perhaps solve the problems of a group in a higher percentage. For example, while it only helps 50 people, an organization may help 48 out of those 50, a higher proportion than an organization that can only help 150 out of 12,000. Zoom in on these percentages and use them as a selling point to show how effective an organization can be. Who knows, they may give more time and money this way.

– Deena Dulgerian

Photo: Pixabay