Why Women?

When Mohammed Yunus developed his model for microfinance in Bangladesh, he recognized the benefits of focusing financial empowerment and opportunity on women in the population that he was helping. I’m hoping to capture here and in subsequent posts some points of interest and fact on the ways that enabling women can significantly multiply the benefits of social entrepreneurship.

From http://www.opportunity.org/womens-opportunity-network/

Why Women?

  • Women represent 70% of those living on less than $2 a day.
  • Women suffer inequitably from the chronic effects of poor nutrition, insufficient healthcare and limited educational opportunity.
  • Women do 66% of the world’s work and receive only 10% of the pay.
  • Women spend 90% of their income on their families, while men typically spend only 35%.
  • Nearly 2.5 billion people live on less than $2 a day, and in 2012, women represent 70% of this number
  • Women who contribute to family finances have greater decision-making power, resulting in better nutrition, health and education for their children. When family needs are met, women are more likely to invest in their communities.
  • On average, women in developing countries walk 3.7 miles a day for water. (http://blockbuster.water.org/?p=355)
  • Women are owners of just one-hundredth of the world’s property, yet they make up the majority of farm laborers. (http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/social/meetings/egm10/documents/Nandal paper.pdf)
  • Two-thirds of the world’s illiterate people are women.

Thoughts on Collaboration Between NGOs

For successful practical collaboration/cooperation/coordination for the lifecycle of an aid effort, you’ll need a well-considered overall structure that addresses all aspects of the planned and anticipated interaction. It would need to define who the stakeholders/partners are and how they will interact — which means defining an acceptable process for someone to lead the coordination without implying that they are leading the aid effort itself. It will also need to reflect the reality of the situation and clearly capture the roles and responsibilities of all involved for this effort specifically, being careful to acknowledge that this agreement doesn’t compromise any partner’s independence outside the defined scope of the agreement. It should also help each partner present the cooperation in a positive light to their respective constituencies — the moral high ground being the focus on the needs of the mission (while maintaining the integrity of each organization involved).
Actions mean so much more than words, and demonstrated willingness to forego total control for a greater result (and the prospect of follow-on collaborations) is a powerful selling point. Plus, the next time, it should be easier/faster to put such an agreement in place.