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Global Status of Women

    Global Status of Women

Email gkimball@csuchico.edu for a chapter on this topic. See http://opendoorsliteracyproject.weebly.com for an interview with an illiterate village girl.

In the 19th century, the moral challenge was slavery, in the 20th it was totalitarianism, and in this century it’s violence against women who suffer from sex trafficking acid attacks on schoolgirls, bride burnings to collect more dowry and rape by soldiers and others.[i] In many places women can’t vote, or inherit land, or go to school. They do the heavy work in rural areas and work a double job as working mothers. The greatest unused resource isn’t minerals, it’s uneducated girls and women, point outs out the NY Times reporters who wrote Half the Sky.

*Because boys are preferred In India and China, more than 1.5 million fewer girls are born each year than statistics would predict,[ii] leading to millions of missing women—more than all the men killed in all the wars and genocides of the 20th century.

*Nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names. Girls are two-thirds of the children who don’t go to school. In Sub-Saharan Africa, for example, only 17% of girls are in secondary school. It would take 6 billion to provide basic education. Over 17 billion is spent on pet foods in the US and Europe. Global military expenditure stands at over $1.5 trillion a yearat current prices for 2009.

*Nearly 3 billion people—half of the world’s population—are poor. Women make up 75% of the poorest people and only 19% of parliament members worldwide. Only 1% of the world’s landowners are women.

*The UN reported in 2005 that over 200 million youth live in poverty, 130 million youth are illiterate, 88 million are unemployed and 10 million young people live with HIV/AIDS. Most (85%) of the world’s one billion young people between 15 and 24 live in developing countries.

*Rates of malnourishment are increasing—about 25% of infants and children under age five are underweight, leading to stunted growth (over 40% of the children under five in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa), with a total of one billion undernourished people. The leading cause of death of teenage girls in developing countries is complications of pregnancy and childbirth. Over 500,000 women die each year in childbirth, 20% as a result of unsafe abortions. One woman dies in childbirth every minute due to lack of adequate health care.

*By 2010, only 19% of parliament representatives were women, up from 11% in 1995.[iii] The highest numbers of women politicians were in Rwanda, Sweden and South Africa. Nine chambers lack any women at all, as in Saudi Arabia. In terms of heads of state, only nine of 151 elected leaders were women. Some countries are making progress in terms of women in power by setting quotas. The banking crisis that precipitated it was blamed on men by the Prime Minister of Iceland, Johanna Sigurdardottir, who campaigned to end the “age of testosterone.” The Scandinavian countries are models for gender equality programs like extensive parental leave.

*A new focus in development programs is the return on investment of programs for girls and women. The chief economist of the World Bank, Lawrence Summers states, “Investment in girls’ education may well be the highest-return investment available in the developing world.”[iv]

*Charitable organizations focusing on girls and women

International poverty:

Grameen Foundation helps the world’s poorest, especially women, improve their lives and escape poverty through access to microfinance and technology. Mr. Yunus won the Nobel Prize for his banking with small loans to groups of five.

Read his book Banker to the Poor, 2003.


Acumen Fund invests patient capital in a variety of institutions, reflecting the diversity of business models that can be effective in reaching the “base of the pyramid” (BoP)—or the billions of poor without access to clean water, reliable health services, or formal housing options. The fund loans or invests in larger projects than Grameen. Read Jacqueline Novogratz. The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World, 2009. http://www.acumenfund.org/

Education in Pakistan

I’ve also started a small co-ed literacy program in NW Pakistan, no admin. costs. Contact me for photos and description. gkimball@csuchico.edu

Global Women:

The Global Fund for Women advocates for and defends women’s human rights by making grants to support women’s groups around the world. Since 1987, the Global Fund for Women has granted over $71 million to more than 3,800 women’s groups in 167 countries. www.globalfundforwomen.org/

The Environment

Take your pick from the best. http://www.fundraiserinsight.org/articles/environmentalfundraising.html

gkimball@csuchico.edu for chapter on girls and women globally

[i] Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, “The Women’s Crusade, The New York Times Magazine, August 23, 2009, p. 28. See their book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. Alfred A Knopf, 2009.

[ii] Tina Rosenberg, “The Daughter Deficit,” The New York Times Magazine, August 23, 2009, p. 23. Statistics are from Goretti Nyabenda, p. 33-34, also in the Times.

[iii] United Nations, The Millennium Development Goals Report, June 15, 2010, p. 25.

[iv] Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, p. xx.

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