By Peggy Kek
In a 2010 study1 conducted by UBS and INSEAD, it was noted that the charitable cause which Asian families most supported was education.
We’ve all heard the adage, “When you educate a girl, you educate a community, or a generation, or even a nation.” How is that?
A girl child who has received some formal education is more likely to avoid becoming a child bride, delay motherhood, enjoy better health, be able to find a better-paying job, have fewer children, provide better for her family and help the family break out of the poverty cycle.
But this chain of positive outcomes could not happen unless we go beyond just educating the girl child.
We have to ensure the promises we made, when we gave her an education, are fulfilled. That is, there will be opportunities for her to go on to make a living, and improve her life, and the lives of those who depend on her. In other words, we must support the economic empowerment of women.
The economic empowerment of women is not a feminist issue.
It is a big part of the solution to many of the world’s problems, such as child mortality, starvation and the poverty trap.
“Studies have indicated that when women hold assets or gain income, the money is more likely to be spent on nutrition, medicine and housing, and consequently their children are healthier. For every dollar a woman earns, she invests 80 cents in her family.”2
The economic empowerment of women is a universal social and economic issue and solution for our times.
1http://www.insead.edu/facultyresearch/centres/social_entrepreneurship/documents/insead_study_family_philantropy_asia.pdf (downloaded on 16 July 2012)
2 http://www.halftheskymovement.org/issues/economic-empowerment (referred to on 16 July 2012)