Working with women is vital to tackling hunger and poverty
We know that there can be no such thing as sustainable development without the voices of women and girls.
The new Sustainable Development Goals recognise the importance of achieving gender equality if we are to reduce poverty. Attempts to meet the needs of women and girls through development programmes have led to improvements in recent years; laws to protect women’s rights have been enacted in many countries, more girls go to school and female life expectancy has increased for example.
But the reality is that gender inequality is still alive and well. Across the world billions of women and girls still face discrimination, poverty and violence just because of their gender.
Women have unequal access to assets like land and they bear more responsibility for the wellbeing of their family (childcare, cooking, cleaning, growing food, working etc.) Girls are less likely to attend school than boys, and a third of women will experience violence in their life time, usually perpetrated by someone they know. The number of women in leadership positions remains stubbornly low, making it so much easier for their voices to be ignored. As a result, women and girls suffer the effects of poverty more acutely than men, and face higher barriers to building a better future for themselves.
Gender equality is about more than fairness – it is a human right.
But the equality also makes economic and social sense too. At Find Your Feet we know that women’s central role in the family means that they are in a unique position to drive transformational change in their communities.
So we make sure that at least 50% of the people benefitting from our projects are women, providing them with the resources and support they need to grow enough food to eat and earn a better income. And, because women reinvest most of what they earn back into their family (90% on average, compared to between 30-40% for men) this means that the prospects and well-being of their children is improved too, reducing poverty for generations to come.
But we are also working hard to make sure that the needs of women and girls cannot be excluded from decision making that affects their lives any more by helping women to become leaders and influential voices in their communities. In the long run this approach breaks down the barriers which prevent women and girls from fully participating in society, barriers which are holding back the progress of development.