Women Are More LikelyGlobally, women are faced with the invisible burdens of gender inequality which are entrenched deeply within institutional structures and communities as a whole. These prejudices may limit a woman’s access to higher employment and assistance programs, ultimately leading to higher rates of poverty, especially among women of color. As of 2018, the poverty rate for women was 12.9% compared to the 10.6% rate among men. There are several reasons why women are more likely to live in poverty.

Educational Inequalities

In many developing countries, women are more likely to be denied an education, as nearly 25% of all girls have not completed primary school education and two-thirds of women make up the world’s illiteracy rate. In Somalia, for example, only 7% of girls are enrolled in primary school. The lack of education among women may result in higher pregnancy and poverty rates. According to the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative, a girl’s education is a driving force in their economic well-being. Somalia suffers from one of the world’s worst educational systems and is one of the poorest countries as well, having a poverty rate of 73%. With education, females can increase their access to higher-paying jobs, and thus, benefit the family’s income., which results in a positive cycle for generations, bettering the economy overall.

Women Are Paid Less

Despite having the same qualifications and working the same hours, women are more likely to get paid less than men. Worldwide, women earn nearly 20% less than men. These variances within wages affect women in low-paying jobs and poorer countries dramatically. Closing the gender wage gap can result in overall equal income distribution. In the United States alone, closing the wage gap would mean that half the poverty rate of working women and their families would be cut.

Period Poverty

Around the world, many females may suffer from period poverty: inadequate access to hygienic menstrual products and menstrual education. The lack of education is related to the stigma periods carry. Periods have been associated with immense shame for a long time and this stigma is carried throughout communities, deeply limiting girls’ opportunities. Globally, periods are the reason why girls are absent from school at a disproportionate rate, as two out of three girls in developing countries are skipping school during their period. In India, 23 million menstruating girls drop out of school annually because of a shortage in hygienic wash facilities and products. Without an education, females are less likely to obtain a high-paying job and escape poverty.

Domestic Violence and Sexual Exploitation

One in three females globally fall victim to some form of domestic or sexual violence in their lifetime. Girls and women who grow up in poverty are also at an increased risk of experiencing such crimes. Victims of domestic or sexual violence can be impacted through the degradation of their physical or mental health, loss of employment or are ultimately driven into homelessness. Globally, females lose out on nearly eight million days of employment every year as a direct result of violent acts committed against them. According to a survey by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, domestic violence was the root cause of women becoming homeless in half of all the cities surveyed.


Economically, females are potentially burdened with the costs of pregnancy, including the additional fees of caring for a child, more significantly than men. Custodial mothers are twice as likely to be poor compared to custodial fathers. Further, unplanned pregnancies can be detrimental to a woman’s income as being unable to work immediately after giving birth means no pay, especially in the informal working sector. In the developing world, nearly 12 million girls aged 15-19 give birth each year, which often results in the end of the girls’ education and the beginning of child marriage. Children who are born from early pregnancies or marriages more often than not enter the same cycle of poverty and no education.

Organizations for Female Empowerment

Malala Yousafzai started the Malala Fund after members of the Pakistani Taliban shot her for advocating the right for girls to be educated. Since then, Malala has built her project into a global initiative that furthers the goal of providing free quality education to young girls in developing countries.

The Orchid Project is a global initiative to end female genital mutilation (FGM). The Orchid Project functions as a platform that raises awareness of the areas where FGM is most prevalent and advocates against the practice. The Orchid Project has brought together more than 193 countries with the collective goal of abolishing FGC by 2030.

Women for Women is an NGO that works to aid those who are in hostile conflict zones and are the victims of collateral damage. Women for Women helps to uplift these victims of violence by providing them with tools, support and education so that they may earn a living and remain stable through the direst of circumstances. Women for Women has helped more than half a million women in countries that have been directly impacted by war and conflicts.

Empowering Women Means Reducing Global Poverty

Females in developing countries experience complexities that restrict their development and progression. Organizations are helping to raise awareness of these complexities and aid women in need. Since women are more likely to experience inequalities that push them into poverty, empowering women ultimately means alleviating global poverty.

– Maya Falach
Photo: Flickr

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

That is what Dining for Women is an organization that hopes to end poverty and empower the women of the world simply by getting together once a month in each other’s homes. It is just as easy as baking a pie, literally.

In 2002 Marsha Wallace, a former nurse from Greenville, SC, saw an episode of Oprah where an Iraqi woman was interviewed about her experience as the daughter of Saddam Hussein’s personal pilot. The woman, Zainab Salbi, went on to start the Women for Women International organization with the goal of helping women on a global scale.

Marsha knew that she wanted to help women, but was not sure how she would go about doing this. The idea came to her suddenly after reading an article about hosting a potluck birthday dinner to raise money for charity. She said in an interview with Philanthropy journal, “I was meditating one day when the idea hit me like a thunderbolt. I had a birthday coming up and I decided to give this a try to raise money for Women to Women.”

The potluck dinner was a huge success and her friends wanted to continue the practice of getting together and helping people. After formally making Dining for Women in a 501(c)3, a non-profit organization, Marsha was ready to roll with her idea. There are now over 400 chapters throughout the world, including Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany as well as over 9,000 current active members. Once a month women from all walks of life in all parts of the globe get together with their chapter and bring fresh food to share with the group. The money they save from dining in as opposed to going out that night is then collected and sent to various good will groups who focus on the well-being and empowerment of women.

In the last 10 years DFW has raised an astounding $2.6 million for their supported causes and has helped to lift numerous women and their families out of the grip of poverty. With their donations Dining for Women has supported the launch of 60 female-led businesses, boosting the incomes and livelihoods of 300 women and about 1,500 children in Kenya, and sent 75 women in India to school for a literacy education with books and supplies. And that is just the beginning of it. Every year since 2007 members of the organization have taken part in trips to various places around the world to meet with the groups they have helped fund and see the impact they made in person.

What started out as a simple birthday dinner gathering has turned into a multi-national campaign to empower, educate, assist, and change women. Now women are flocking to join the organization and Marsha Wallace was even included in Women for Women International’s cookbook. Their mission is to provide women around the world with better lives by funding programs that promote health, education, and economic self-sufficiency for women and girls living in extreme poverty.

– Chelsea Evans 

Sources: Dining for Women, Philanthropy Journal
Photo: Dining for Women