Friday, January 19, 2007

Women Empowered

Just got back from a presentation by Phil Borges, humanitarian photographer.

Phil spoke about the need for global female empowerment, especially in the developing world. Why?

According to CARE, 70 percent of the world’s poorest people are female.

SIL International reports that two-thirds of all nonliterates are women.

Compassion Beyond Borders reminds us that educated women

  • are less likely to be poor
  • are less likely to contract HIV/AIDS
  • are less subject to physical violence and other abuse by their husband
  • earn incomes that they (unlike their husbands) spend on their children
  • raise agricultural productivity in peasant families
  • participate in the social, political, and economic development of their community

And that
Female education is more effective in reducing birth rates than are family planning programs--increasing the level of a mother’s education by three years lowers her birth rate by one child. Increases in women’s income improve child survival rates 20 times more than increases in male incomes. Educated mothers:
  • are less likely to die in childbirth
  • raise fewer children
  • raise better educated children
  • raise healthier children, who are less likely to die in childhood
Fairly domestic issues, no?

Phil confirmed all of this in his presentation and sets these facts forth in his book Women Empowered: Inspiring Change in the Emerging World , in which he brings faces to these statistics and tells stories of amazing women in the developing world.

All of which serve as a reminder to those of us lucky enough to be educated and empowered to appreciate what we've got.

Tonight, I am feeling grateful for my education, my liberty, my (relatively) egalitarian culture.

I also have a desire to spread and share my good fortune. Some good places to start are:

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