The 2012 World Development Report on Gender Equality and Development finds that women’s lives around the world have improved dramatically. How do you react to this? Don’t you feel that gaps remain in many areas – Otherwise why would nearly 4 million poor women go “missing” each year in developing countries?
Further, women are still dying in childbirth, or not being born at all, at alarming rates. Correct me, if I am wrong. Also, women continue to lack voice and decision-making ability in the household and in society; and, their economic opportunities remain very constrained. This inequality is manifestly unfair.
The UN thus rightly understands that “women perform 66 per cent of the world’s work, produce 50 per cent of the food, but earn 10 per cent of the income and own 1 per cent of the property.” What does this grim statistics tell us, then?
Of course, the Middle East and North Africa, South Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa are the three regions in which explicit legal gender differentiations are more common, both in accessing institutions and in using property. But why don’t we invoke the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that begins by emphasizing that “recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.”
I am happy to share with you that in my family, women have full access to earned income and it is they who actually own property. This is a little effort that we do for their security, education and health. Yes, gender equality is – first and foremost – a human right.
In developing countries, gender inequities acutely limit opportunities for girls and women. Can you contribute by working to expand girls’ access to education and to create opportunities for their empowerment, such as through economic participation? Can you help them in savings, loans, and money transfers—enabling them to invest in enterprises, better nutrition, improved living conditions, and the health and education of their children. Think. Be a powerful catalyst for women’s empowerment.
To begin with, GIVE THEM a voice in their households, communities, and governments, as well as access to resources. REMEMBER — Increasing women’s economic opportunities and participation—such as through access to land, financial services and other resources—can promote women’s status and help reduce poverty.
Let’s See This Example: During a visit to Kathmandu, over a decade ago, I had found women in bad shape. I was informed that the Nepalese families would spend little money on girls’ higher education, forcing them to marry early. But now, I am told that the cycle of poverty is being taken care of by people there with the help of institutions like World Bank. Watch in the video below how training and opportunities are being provided for girls in Nepal. It’s time to think EQUAL for women and girls at your places too. In the changing world, Greater Voice feels people can actually encourage women to be entrepreneurs.