“Nowhere on earth do women have as many opportunities as men. Nowhere. But the toughest countries in which to be born a girl are also the poorest, because Poverty is Sexist.” ~ ONE
You might remember my #strengthie from last year showing my support for the fairly new campaign ONE had created to show the world just how negatively women and girls are affected by poverty. I shared a guest post from my good friend and fellow social good blogger, Nicole, about the first Poverty is Sexist report and encouraged you to sign a petition.
Today, on International Women’s Day, ONE has released their latest Poverty is Sexist report.
The report details the ways extreme poverty disproportionately affects girls and women, with 10 ways to start to turn it around in 2016. An index of the 20 toughest places in the world to be born a girl is also included.
While last year’s report focused on pressuring leaders to put girls and women at the heart of key policies and decisions – illustrating how poverty and gender inequality are linked and how investing in women and girls is essential to ending extreme poverty – the 2016 report hones in on opportunities to boost funding and reforms specifically related to nutrition and health.
“For girls and women to thrive and meet their potential, and to help lift others out of poverty, the political opportunities around health and nutrition need to be grabbed. With funds directed towards the right policies, these moments offer the chance to invest in better opportunities and outcomes for girls and women.” ~ ONE
The statistics are amazing to read:
- A child born in Nigeria is more than 41 times more likely to die before their fifth birthday than a child born in Norway.
- In Mali, 93% of girls will never attend school.
- Barriers to education mean that altogether there are half a billion women in the world who cannot read — two-thirds of the global illiterate population.
- Some 45% of all mortality amongst children under the age of five is linked to malnutrition.
- More than 500 million women around the world are affected by anaemia, which is often caused by iron deficiency and can cause fatigue and lethargy and impair physical capacity and work performance.
The country of Niger tops the list as the toughest country to be born a girl. Here’s why:
“The country that tops our list, Niger, is a place where a girl can expect to have 16 months less schooling than her brother, a one in 20 chance of dying in childbirth and a one in four chance of delivering a baby that is underweight. In Niger only 2.6% of females aged 15 and over have a bank account, fewer than half of women are in paid employment and only 13% of members of the national parliament are women. Niger lies at the heart of Africa’s Sahel region, which is home to a number of other countries on the list. The Sahel has suffered four food security crises in recent years (2005, 2008, 2010 and 2012) and is currently in drought again.” ~ ONE
Women also suffer from “time poverty” in the developing world, leaving a huge gap between women and men and missed economic opportunity. Women and girls can spend up to four hours a day cooking alone. Research suggests that in sub-Saharan Africa women and girls in low-income countries spend 40 billion hours a year collecting water — the equivalent of a year’s worth of labor by the entire workforce in France.
In 2016, ONE is focused on two major components affecting women: health and nutrition. The key political opportunities include the Nutrition for Growth II summit being held in Rio de Janeiro in August, where historic increases in new and additional money are needed to meet the gap in global nutrition funding, and the replenishment of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which is aiming to raise $13 billion to fight these epidemics.
The #PovertyIsSexist report ends with 10 “what we need” items around nutrition, the global fund, legal equality, women’s rights, connectivity, energy access, data revolution, gender investments, tracking gender progress and diplomatic pressure.
There is far more to this report than what I am summarizing here. It’s an eye-opening read and an important one for anyone who is interested in ending extreme poverty and gender inequality.