Economy/Economic Policy

It Takes Women to End Global Poverty

Friday, March 9, 2012

Women produce half of the world's food, earn 10 percent of the world's income and own less than 1 percent of the world's property. The U.S. Government's Millennium Challenge Corporation says its anti-poverty efforts aim to change these statistics.




(WOMENSENEWS)--Women work two-thirds of the world's working hours and produce half of the world's food. Yet, women earn only 10 percent of the world's income and own less than 1 percent of the world's property.

While American women still earn about 77 cents for every dollar men earn and continue to work hard to close the salary gap, women in other parts of the world earn a mere 30 to 40 percent of what men do.

These are the women who never made it to a classroom, who often forgo already scarce food for themselves to feed other family members, who are unable to start their own businesses and who are likely to die in childbirth or from a preventable disease due to lack of basic health care.

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The ability of families worldwide to pull themselves out of poverty -- through education, health and food security -- disproportionately rests on the shoulders of women.

Just ask Barbara Ayisa of Ghana. In her village of Affumkrom, she spends her day growing onions and maize, while taking care of her children. Her husband provides some economic support, but is engaged in other activities, leaving Barbara to manage the household. She benefitted from assistance that teaches her how to store her maize until she can sell it at the best price, earning the most she can for her family.

When asked what additional assistance would help, Barbara responded, "A daycare center would be very helpful as I could take care of my farm and then go home in the afternoon to take care of my children. I am currently doing both things, which is very hard."

A solution this simple empowers women to contribute effectively to the sustainable development and stability of their countries. It helps close the gender gap and allows both men and women access to the resources necessary to prosper.

If their families and communities are to thrive, women need access to land, property, water, and technology for economic productivity. They need access to microcredit. They need access to education, training, nutritional and health care. They deserve laws and institutions that will legally secure and protect their access.

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