On the steps of the Swayambhu Temple, in Kathmandu, Nepal, a girl with a baby in her arms begs for money
“What we are learning around the world is that if women are healthy and educated, their families will flourish. If women are free from violence, their families will flourish. If women have a chance to work and earn as full and equal partners in society, their families will flourish. And when families flourish, communities and nations do as well.”
--Secretary of State and former First Lady Hilary Clinton
The truth of the matter is, that there are so many issues we are facing in the world today, its overwhelming.
War, poverty, AIDS, global warming, and human rights violations, just to name a few...
So where do we start?
By protecting, educating, and nurturing girls and women.
Because, around the word, women and girls continue to be disproportionately disadvantaged and discriminated against,
and providing them with equal rights and opportunities - educationally, economically, and socially,
is the most effective and powerful tool we have for creating sustainable, and peaceful, global development.
A young woman washes clothes and bathes her son at the community water spigot in Fishling, Nepal, along a popular White Water Rafting route along the Trisuli river
Compared to her male counterpart, a girl growing up in the developing world is more likely to die before her fifth birthday and less likely to go to school.
She is less likely to receive adequate food or health care, less likely to receive economic opportunities, more likely to be forced to marry before the age of 16, and more likely to be the victim of sexual and domestic abuse.
In the Nuwakot region, Nepal
Two-thirds of the nearly 800 million illiterate people in the world are women (In Nepal, girls are often forced to stay home from school and work)
Five-hundred-thousand women die every year from childbirth complications— that’s one woman every minute (Nepal's maternal mortality rate is among the highest in the world)
Women are denied property rights and inheritance in many countries. Worldwide, women own only 1 percent of the world’s property (women were not able to own property in Nepal until recently)
Women work two-thirds of all the world’s labor hours but earn just 10 percent of the world’s wages.
Women and girls gather outside their school (Astha Women's School) in Gatthaghar, Bhaktapur.
The impacts of education for women:
According to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan: “No tool for development is more effective than the empowerment of women.”
When girls are educated, their income potential increases, her children are more likely to be immunized, the birth rate decreases, maternal and infant mortality is reduced, and infection rates are lowered.
When girls are educated, they are likely to acquire skills to improve her family’s economic stability, and more likely to ensure that her children also receive an education. (http://womensrightsworldwide.org/)
Women and girls in Nepal Matter. They matter because they deserve to matter, and because they are perhaps the greatest change-makers in the world today!