Recognizing and realizing the potential of women and girls has a transformative impact on society. Evidence shows that investing in women and girls causes a ripple of positive change in families, communities, and nations. The Daniel Society is committed to empowering women and girls as a means of eradicating poverty and spreading a message of hope.
Women’s economic empowerment leads to numerous positive outcomes. A woman’s income has a multiplier effect, since women who work are more likely to invest their incomes in their families than men, allowing more money to be dedicated to the education and health of the next generation. Indeed, studies reveal that the children of working mothers have better educational and health outcomes and that families in which mothers control family finances have reduced rates of child mortality. The benefits of a woman’s participation in the labor force are hardly confined to her own family. For example, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization projects that over 100 million people could be lifted out of hunger if women’s participation in agricultural labor were equal to men’s.
In spite of the ample evidence in favor of women’s economic participation, women and girls face numerous hurdles hindering their equal engagement in the labor force. In societies worldwide, women are disproportionately responsible for unpaid home labor such as child-rearing, cooking, and cleaning, which may preclude paid employment and limit educational attainment. Furthermore, women may face codified discrimination that confines their potential: the World Bank’s 2016 Women, Business, and the Law report found 155 economies of the 173 studied had at least one law restricting women’s economic participation that did not apply to men.
Ensuring women have the basic technical, financial, and intrapersonal skills needed to attain employment is critical, as is with a supportive social and legal context. This is not only imperative to gender parity per se, but also would contribute to better health and economic outcomes, lifting millions of people out of poverty across the world.
The Daniel Society’s Center for Global Initiatives is currently designing a pilot project in a Zambian village called the Women’s Economic Development Club to empower women and their families. The Club will provide micro-loans and savings plans to approximately 20 women entrepreneurs, creating a secure economic future for participants and their families. In line with the Daniel Society’s mission of hope building, the Club will implement practical curriculum to restore hope to families living in extreme poverty. Bolstered by practical financial skills and a hopeful outlook, participants will be able to build a brighter future for themselves and their families.
To learn more about the Women’s Economic Development Club, visit us at https://www.danielsociety.org/women-economic-development-club.
Mackenzie Sumwalt, Research Assistant, Center for Global Initiatives