‘''If we are going to see real development in the world, then our best investment is women.’'' Desmond Tutu
Why invest in women and girls?
As we celebrate this significant day, I am pondering this quote. Here is a man reflecting on the best way forward in the Developing World. The best way out of poverty. And he identifies women, front and centre.
At the Foxglove Project, we totally agree. While women are most often the single demographic most impacted by poverty in the Developing World, they are also the best way of escape. They are our greatest investment in a tomorrow marked by hope, self-determination and independence.
Foxglove focuses all of its energy into first helping women and girls for three reasons:
1.The inequity factor
In everyday life, this saying rings true, ''Women hold up half the sky''. But in many Developing World countries, women and girls are the most persecuted members of the community.
In 2017, the trafficking of women for sexual exploitation was the fastest-growing criminal enterprise in the world. The incidence of domestic violence against women, limited gains in maternal health, and depressingly low levels of access to global assets and resources confirm a rising gender inequity.
When you add the overwhelming lack of representation of women in positions of power, then the need to prioritise women and girl projects is both valid and unsurprising.
2. The generosity factor
For every dollar that a woman receives, she will share 80 cents with those about her. Not just extended family, but neighbours and community.
It means that any gains experienced by women are shared gains. Everyone benefits. And this not only improves the living conditions of others, but raises their hopes and aspirations that life can be better.
3. The effectiveness factor.
When a woman makes her way out of poverty, she takes five to nine others with her. It’s a startling statistic.
For the most part, it’s a reflection of the integral importance of women to the progress and provision of her family and community. A woman will give all that she has to make sure her children get a better chance at life. And she will work every dollar and every opportunity to see how it can provide that chance against all odds.
At heart, she’s a believer. Driven by hard work and desperation to make something out of nothing.