Empowering Women

Women makeup half the world’s population and yet represent a staggering 70% of the world’s poor. We live in a world in which women living in poverty face gross inequalities and injustice from birth to death. From poor education to poor nutrition, to lack of job opportunities and low pay employment.

 

Many women, especially in developing countries face unsurmountable challenges their entire lives. This should be unacceptable but is all too common.

According to the World Bank, women tend to have less access to formal financial institutions and saving mechanisms. While 55 percent of men report having an account at a formal financial institution, only 47 percent of women do worldwide. This gap is largest among lower middle-income economies, as well as in South Asia, Latin American and North Africa.

Over 90 percent of all Mentors International micro-loans are made to women.

Many of them single mothers desperately wanting their opportunity for someone to take a chance on them and give them a small loan so that they can grow their business, and provide for their families.

 

Mentors International firmly believes that empowering women is an essential element to achieving the end of extreme poverty. In the countries that we serve, our programs aim to support women and build their capacity to succeed and become self-reliant.

 

Education plays a large part in community development

 

Women are an important resource for global development, but many of those living in developing countries do not reach their full potential because they never had the opportunity to receive a proper education.

In its annual “State of the World’s Children” report, UNICEF says 124 million children worldwide do not attend school — 9 million more girls than boys. The report says an estimated 65 million girls are being denied basic education, increasing the likelihood they will live in poverty or die young.

The reasons that girls are kept away from school are varied.

  • Adverse cultural practices also contribute to this occurrence, because girls are more likely to stay home and be “taught” to be housewives. Formal education for them is not always seen as necessary.
  • The inability of parents or guardians to bear related costs of education, including uniforms, stationery and food, as well as the opportunity costs of sending girls to school.
  • Long distances from home to school, too few facilities and a lack of child-friendly environments in the schools that are available.
  • Poverty is a major contributor. If a family has limited funds and has to be selective on whom to send to school, more often than not, it is going to be the boys.
  • Lastly, if anyone is sick in the family or chores needs to be done at home, it is more likely that the girls will be the ones to stay away from school and assist with whatever tasks need to be done.

As girls drop out of school, their chances of rising out of poverty diminish. They struggle to provide for themselves, and their children, trapped in low-skilled, poorly paid, and insecure employment. These women cannot help but pass on to their own children the deprivation and disadvantage that kept them from realizing their potential. The cycle of poverty and inequality continues on.

Mentors International is helping to break this tragic cycle.

 

Mentors International is providing educational business training to mothers and families. Our successful courses help teach the basic business principles of money management, accounting, and inventory control. Then a mentor is assigned to each client so that as they put into practice the training and education they have received, they will continue to grow and improve.

Mentors International’s clients move from everyday survival to planning for the future. They improve their businesses as well as their families’ entire socioeconomic standing. Their children eat better, live in improved housing conditions, receive better healthcare, and attend school. On average, these mothers increase their incomes by 52% while working with Mentors International. Read more about our impact.

Many children of these entrepreneurs are the first generation to attend a university, let alone complete secondary school.

The benefits of providing women and girls with education can be seen beyond personal welfare and development, and well beyond their childhood. Educated women are more likely to seek medical care for themselves and their families, immunize their children, and provide proper nutrition and sanitation at home. Additionally, educated women are less likely to be vulnerable toward sexual abuse or exploitation, which will protect them against sexually-transmitted infections.

An educated mother is more likely to have educated children, both boys and girls, which help ensures that universal education and gender equality will continue on through the generations.

 

Mentors International is helping to create a ripple effect of opportunity that is impacting communities and generations to come.

 

Sources:
http://datatopics.worldbank.org/financialinclusion/
https://www.unicef.org/sowc2016/index_91265.html

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