8 March 2011 - International Women's Day: On the road to empowerment
|This year, International Women’s Day highlights the participation of women and girls in education, training, science and technology. It also focuses our attention on the promotion of women’s equal access to full employment and decent work.
Today, more women than ever before are participating in the work force, yet almost two-thirds of women in the developing world work in the informal economy with no labour rights or social protection. Globally, women are more likely to be jobless, bearing the worst setbacks of the economic crisis.
Seventy percent of the world’s hungry people are women and girls and 45 per cent of women in developing countries suffer from anemia and malnutrition. Across the globe, every day about 1,000 women die because of complications related to pregnancy or childbirth, and more than 30 million girls are out of school.
However, educated, employed women break poverty cycles, not just for themselves but for families, communities and countries. UNDP’s International Assessment on ‘What it Takes to Achieve the MDGs’ found that educated women are more likely to seek medical care during pregnancy and to ensure their children are healthy and educated girls are also more productive, better paid in the workplace and more able to participate in social, economic and political decision-making.
Women need equal opportunities in the economic, social and political spheres. This includes increasing access to finance, training and technology and strengthening women’s legal status and rights.
From huge national projects to smaller-scaled initiatives, UNDP works with governments, civil society and the private sector so that real progress is made in helping countries reduce inequalities and improve the lives of women.
For example, in Benin, UNDP’s Small Grants Programme is benefitting women and their families, improving their incomes and simultaneously protecting the environment in which they live.
In Pakistan UNDP is working with non-governmental organizations and local religious courts to end violence against women. To this day, the initiative has helped around 45,000 women trapped in situations of violence.
In El Salvador, which has one of the highest female murder rates, UNDP helped women parliamentarians pass a groundbreaking bill to address violence against women.
In Lebanon, more than 40 women’s cooperatives have formed small businesses across the country to revitalize communities that were economically devastated by conflicts.