The Link Between Gender Equality and Ending Extreme Poverty

Putting an end to extreme poverty requires providing opportunities for all individuals, especially women, to thrive through education, nutrition, and health. In order to achieve this goal, a greater emphasis must be placed on gender equality and the removal of barriers that disproportionately affect women.

I recently read an amazing article from Rebecca Lefton at American Progress about the importance of emphasizing gender equality and accelerating progress in the field of women’s development in order to more effectively and comprehensively address global poverty.

She summarizes:

“While the poverty rate has declined in many developing countries, much of that improvement has been concentrated in China. Worldwide, rural populations, ethnic minorities, the disabled, and women have not benefitted from the rising economic tide. From a global perspective, women own only 1 percent of property, earn 10 percent of all income, and yet they produce half of the world’s food.

Any poverty agenda must focus on women because they are 70 percent of the world’s poor. Women comprise two-thirds of the global illiterate population and all women face additional hurdles to their economic and social well-being, including the pay gap and the fact that women are much more likely to hold vulnerable jobs.

Because women constitute the majority of the world’s poor and because development goals have not been achieved—particularly where gender inequality thrives—women’s empowerment and gender equality must a focus of the U.N. development agenda beyond 2015 when the Millennium Development Goals are set to expire. The expiration of the Millennium Development Goals and the development of new Sustainable Development Goals are stimulating global conversations about how to address poverty and sustainable development. This issue brief looks at gender equality and women’s empowerment in the post-2015 U.N. development agenda framework.”

This is something that I’ve believed for quite some time, and the research that shows this undeniable and incredibly important link exists, but a succinct and fact-based article like this is just what the world needs read now. Please check it out and spread it to all your friends who care about ending extreme poverty!

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