When a woman has political and economic rights, she can be powerful and she can be heard. Women are two-thirds of the world’s labor force, yet only earn 10 percent of the world’s income. Imagine how our economic engines would hum if every woman had equal access to education, skills training, employment, and entrepreneurial opportunity.
Of the world’s 195 countries, only 10 presidents, eight prime ministers, and roughly 19 percent of parliamentarians are women. Imagine the positive benefits for democracy, peace-building, and legislation if every woman had an equal chance to run for office, be a community leader, or have an active voice in politics.
Why it matters
The right to a voice, to a vote, to a fair and equal wage, to a safe work place, and equal rights to land and inheritance – all these are critical women’s rights that are still being fought for all over the world. Helping women to secure these rights, and better yet, to become leaders in their communities and in their workplaces is at the heart of our work.
What’s more, we know that when women have these fundamental rights, the benefits to communities and economies are tremendous and wide-reaching. We know when women have political voice and a seat at decision-making tables there is a greater chance of building healthy and fair democracies where women’s human rights are valued and realized. This need is especially acute in conflict and post-conflict settings where women’s rights are most fragile. In addition, women and girls play a critical role in breaking the cycle of poverty. When women have more money they invest in their families – buying or growing more and healthier food, investing in their family’s health care and medicine, and using their income to pay for their children’s education or training. Economically empowered women create healthier, more sustainable, and equal societies.
What we’re doing to drive change
Since 1987, Global Fund for Women has made nearly 2,000 grants to advance women’s civic and political participation in 142 countries. Our network has boosted women’s political representation in local governments and national parliaments in Afghanistan, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Fiji, Ghana, and in countless other countries. Our support to women’s groups has helped changed laws, support emerging democracies, and ensure women’s engagement at critical moments of national reconstruction and peace building; for example, in Rwanda, Liberia, and Bosnia.
We have funded 1,023 women-led organizations in 129 countries to build powerful movements for safe working conditions and fair labor practices, to help women acquire agricultural skills, and to drive advocacy efforts that have resulted in national and global labor agreements and gender-inclusive economic policies.
Political empowerment in action: Women’s leadership in Asia and the Pacific
We’re amplifying women’s political voice and economic independence through initiatives like FLOW. Through FLOW, Global Fund for Women is supporting organizations throughout Asia and the Pacific who are leading the charge to end violence and poverty. These organizations are also recruiting women to run for office, applying grassroots solutions to climate change, and energizing thousands of women and girls to become leaders.
Global Fund for Women is at the forefront of creating a world where women have equal rights to own land and resources, access to technology, open bank accounts and small businesses, and are protected by fair labor and employment standards. Together, let’s create a better world for all of us, where women and girls have equal access to political and economic rights and opportunities.
In-story photo by Bowerbird Photography.