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

Reach Every Mother and Child Act
The Reach Every Mother and Child Act of 2015 would work to end the preventable deaths of mothers, newborns and young children in developing countries.

U.S. Senators Chris Coons, D-Del., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, introduced the Reach Act this summer as a solution for deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth.

“Over the past several years, we have made great strides in saving moms, babies, and kids in some of the poorest parts of the world, but it’s clear that more help – and more resources – are needed,” Sen. Coons said in a press release.

The Reach Act seeks to build on the progress made over the past few years in maternal-child health. According to Countdown to 2015’s report for this year, the global maternal mortality ratio has decreased by 45 percent over the past two decades, and the number of maternal deaths has dropped from about 523,000 a year to 289,000.

Maternal education and income growth have had a significant impact on the improvement of conditions for mothers and children in developing countries, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation said, as well as technological innovations in medicine and other areas.

However, problems such as HIV, poor hospital conditions, and malnutrition still plague mothers and children in those countries. The Reach Act would help provide the means to solve these problems.

If enacted, the Act would:

  • Require a ten-year strategy to achieve the goal of ending preventable maternal, newborn, and child deaths by 2035;
  • Establish a permanent Maternal and Child Survival Coordinator at USAID who would be focused on implementing the ten-year strategy and verifying that the most effective interventions are scaled up in target countries.s
  • Require the Administration to develop a financing framework that would allow the use of U.S. government dollars to leverage additional commitments from the private sector, nonprofit organizations, partner countries, and multinational organizations.

The Reach Every Mother and Child Act of 2015 is currently being referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Email your congressional leaders in support of the Reach Every Mother and Child Act and help save the lives of 600,000 women and 15 million children by 2020.

Ashley Tressel

Sources: Senate, Health Data, Countdown to 2015: Maternal, Newborn & Child Health Data
Photo: Flickr