WOMEN AND GIRLS EMPOWERMENT
Women and girls suffer disproportionately from the burden of extreme poverty—they make up 70% of the 1 billion people living on less than a dollar a day. At EFA, we are committed to ending poverty by attacking its root causes, not only its consequences. In practice, this means that we can’t just build a school—we must fight for the rights of girls to be educated. It means not only providing HIV and pregnancy prevention information, counseling and testing, but also fighting for every individual’s right to be free from abuse or violence.
EFA is committed to uncovering and transforming the political, social and economic relationships at the heart of poverty—our work to improve the health and well-being of women and girls is critical to that fight.
WHAT DO WOMEN HAVE TO DO WITH IT?
Women work two-thirds of the world’s working hours, produce half of the world’s food, yet earn only 10% of the world’s income and own less than 1% of the world’s property. More than 850 million people most of them women and children—suffer from chronic hunger or malnutrition.
Women in the developing world bear a heavy burden of preventable illness. Each year, more than half a million women die from the complications of pregnancy and childbirth. And despite steady growth in access to contraceptives globally, an estimated 80 million women have unintended pregnancies each year—half end in abortion.
Women are increasingly at risk for HIV—60% of people with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa are women. In Kenya, for every 10 young men with HIV there are 45 infected young women.
Women play a crucial role in local economies and the health and well-being of their families. Women who are educated are more likely to have fewer and healthier children. In fact, mothers with some education immunize their children 50% more often than mothers who are not educated, while HIV/AIDS spreads twice as quickly among uneducated girls than among girls that have even some schooling. Poor maternal health reduces women’s capacity to work and limits their ability to generate income and overcome poverty, often in communities where their contribution to household income and childcare is crucial.
Poor women are often extremely vulnerable to injury or death from violence. At least one in three of the world’s women has been physically or sexually abused at some time in her life. Many, including pregnant women.