There are currently 1.3 billion people worldwide who live in extreme poverty and 70% of them are women and girls. Women do two thirds of the world’s work, but earn only 10% of the world’s income. They own less than 1% of the world’s property.
We celebrate International Women’s Day to honour the amazing achievements of women all over the world and to recognise that there is a great deal of work still to be done before gender equality is a reality.
Bangladesh is currently ranked 142 out of 187 on the Gender Inequality Index, and despite many female gains in the workplace, Bangladeshi women in work remain targets for exploitation and discrimination. 38% of women have experienced violence in the workplace and they earn 60% less than their male counterparts.
Niger ranks 187 out of 187 countries on the Gender Inequality Index, and the UN states that by the age of 19, 68% of Nigerien women will have given birth to their first child. Women seeking divorce must return the marriage payment (mahr) to their husbands, despite the mahr not being in their possession. The marriage payment is given directly to women’s fathers who may already have spent it or refuse to release it.
In eastern Niger, home to the Peul and Hausa ethnic groups, women are not permitted to leave their homes without a male escort. Domestic violence is largely viewed as acceptable, with nearly 60% of women agreeing that their husband can beat them if they burn the food or go outside without telling him.
In Pakistan, 70-90% of women living in rural areas will experience domestic violence and 1,000 honour killings occur annually according to Britain’s Department for International Development. It’s estimated that only 2% of all honour killings are ever reported. Pakistan is considered a transit and destination country for trafficking and slavery by the UN, and research shows that are around 264,000 child domestic servants in Pakistan, most of them young girls.
At Human Appeal, we believe that empowering women is essential for overcoming poverty worldwide. Over the last year, we’ve trained 42 disadvantaged Bangladeshi women in basic sewing and textile skills and provided them with the tools needed to start their own businesses.
We also worked with healthcare staff and birth attendants in Satkhira District, Bangladesh to ensure that they have the appropriate training and resources to provided full maternity and childcare services. In 2015, around 300 women made use of the new health centres and more than 1,800 poorly children received treatment.
In Niger, we supported 9,493 women to help them learn about nutrition and good hygiene practices, enabling them to raise a generation of healthy babies.
On this International Women’s Day, we urge our generous supporters to donate to our female empowerment projects around the world.
Educating girls is vital to breaking the cycle of poverty in many countries, as educated girls are less likely to marry early or die in childbirth. Every little girl should have the chance to go to school and learn, and for just £35, you can provide her with a school kit to help her reach her academic potential.
A donation of £60 will go towards building an all-girls orphan welfare centre and provide girls who have lost their parents with a place of safety.
We are continuing to provide sewing machines to disadvantaged women in Pakistan, many of whom drop into our field office and explain their situation. A simple item like a sewing machine can transform a woman’s life by allowing her to become self-sufficient, and it costs only £125.
You can save a life today.