Over the past few weeks, we have been publishing Women In The World articles about the different characteristics embedded in our global order that affect women worldwide. One of the biggest problems that continues to keep women lower on the social ladder than the men is their lack of access to education. However, as Nicholas D. Kristof notes in his article entitled “The Women’s Crusade,” putting more of a focus on females when giving foreign aid will actually help fight global poverty, extremism, and global gender differences. Today, we want to give you a taste of a few foreign aid tactics that people have come up with to combat worldwide gender disparities.
As noted in our piece entitled Women In The World: Why Is Female Labor Not Being Rewarded?, many societies find female labor to be less beneficial than male labor, limiting females’ access to jobs and payments. However, it has actually been proven that investing in education and supplies for females will actually yield positive return in the future. Micro financing is a type of service in which groups lend money or supplies to poorer people to help them start their own businesses. This is different from simply donating money to people because it is a loan that goes towards a specific plan for the future. The point is that women use loans from micro financing groups to purchase supplies for something that they are good at, such as felt and needles for embroidery. Women plan and execute a way to use their loan so that they can slowly pay their loan back as they simultaneously build a business that can last.
With a negative stigma attached to them, women often find themselves living at the mercy of their male counterparts. In our piece entitled Women In The World: Why Are Brides Being Burned After Their Marriages?, we showed you how many women are murdered solely because of their gender and their place in society. Women have a separate set of expectations to live up to than men, and often find themselves in danger when they cannot provide what they are supposed to. When women are considered “lesser” than men, they do not have access to equal medical benefits, putting their health and lives at higher risk than men. Further, gender discrimination in third world countries allows for women to become sex slaves for their owners. As we discuss in Women In The World: Modern-Day Slavery & Human Trafficking, women are further hindered from achieving their full potential when they are stripped of their rights and dignity.
Fortunately, like micro financing, programs have been set up to rescue women from these unfortunate circumstances. In addition to providing women with money, it has been proven that educating women around the world can lead to major changes in the global poverty realm. With education, women are able to earn money and become autonomous. They are able to pursue their own goals without worrying about their male counterparts. Statistics show that often, when poor families are run by men, the money is spend on products such as alcohol and prostitution. However, when women are in charge of the household finances, it has been shown that they spend the small amount of money that they have on nutrition and housing, which lays the pavement for a better future for the family.
Overall, micro financing for women and educating women are key to benefiting women and the whole global order. By effectively equipping women with the tools and education necessary for being independent, it has been proven that women will contribute more to actually sustaining positive changes. Educating women and micro financing are unique because rather than just donating money to a developing country in general, it’s important to invest your money in objectives that will help the country grow in the future. Simply tossing in money to solve one problem does not help lay the foundation for improvement, rather it gets used for problems that need severe restructuring.
Nicholas Kristof is one of my favorite authors and role models: check out more details about women and fighting poverty in his book Half The Sky.