Feminization of Poverty

4th Forum of ONGs in official partnership with UNESCO: The role of women in fighting poverty

Women constitute half of the world´s population but they represent 70% of the poorest across the globe. Poverty is therefore, becoming increasingly feminized. Great inequalities remain as regards access to education, equal pay for equal work, access to basic services, etc. Moreover, women are mostly in charge of raising their children.

Tackling  gender inequality is not an act of charity, it is an obligation for all countries. Furthermore, gender equality is key to the positive development of societies. For instance, despite the fact that women represent 43% of the labor force in the agriculture sector, their access to the necessary resources to work the land (means and knowledge), and their level of ownership of the land remain low. It is estimated that 100 million out of the 840 million people who suffer hunger, could actually be relieved from hunger if only women had the same access to means of agricultural production.

4th forum of NGOs in partnership with UNESCO

The 4th International Forum of NGOs in official partnership with UNESCO that took place last 29th and 30th of June, dealt with the role of women in fighting poverty. One of the two global objectives of UNESCO being gender equality, thisinstitution of the United Nations has become of the main advocates of this cause. The meeting aimed to show how women are both, the first victims of poverty, and actual or potentialagents forchange.

300 people, mostly NGOs representatives, among whom Lucía Goberna, representative of Dianova, and the technical staff from UNESCO, have explored the ways  to efficiently empower women to combat poverty by the means of education, reject of violence, economic empowerment, sustainable development and innovative strategies.

Some of the topics raised along the forum reflected the range of issues that were dealt with, among which:

  • The need to count with holistic strategies to fight poverty
  • The impossibility to find a way out of poverty without improving the access and quality of education
  • The necessity of involving men in the fight for gender equality
  • The importance of taking into account the work of women in the informal economy and in raising their children
  • The need of fighting the stereotypes common in the media
  • The proven efficacy of microcredits to promote women’s independence

NGOs play a vital role in raising awareness among the population and in the implementation of programs and projects that deal with gender equality. Nevertheless, in order to achieve effective gender equality it is crucial that governments implement the commitments that they had assumed in this regard and that they lead the changes.