A commitment to empowering women is embedded in Heifer International's core values for sustainable development. Gender equity is especially central to success. Women and men must work side-by-side with equally respected roles and responsibilities for a family to lift itself out of poverty, which is why Heifer confronts patriarchy and gender equity head on when we begin working with communities.
Photo by Geoff Oliver Bugbee, courtesy of Heifer International.
One way Heifer works to develop gender eqity is to give animals, resources and training directly to women. This practice allows women to gain status in both their families and society. By becoming the owners of livestock and the businesses that come from those livestock, women are able to earn income for their familiy. Men are invited to participate in the project as well, but only on an equal playing field with their wives and the women of the community. Many projects are directed by women with men playing more of a supportive role.
Did You Know?
- Women make up about 43 percent of the agricultural labor force in developing countries and around two-thirds of the world's 600 million poor livestock farmers;
- Despite their high levels of commitment, most women farmers around the world do not own their land, own smaller and less fertile plots than men and have poorer access to agricultural inputs and financial credit than men;
- Only 10 percent of total aid for agriculture, forestry and fishing goes to the world's women;
- Girls who stay in school are better able to feed their families when they become adults;
- Increasing a woman's income by $10 achieves the same improvements in child nutrition and health as increasing a man's income by $110;
- If we close the gender gap in agriculture, giving equal resources to women farmers as men, agricultural output in developing countries could reduce the number of undernourished people by 12-17 percent. (Source: http://www.farmingfirst.org/women/)
Did You Know You Can Help? Give now to start a women's self-help group, a key component to Heifer International's successful work with women.
Keep up with Heifer International's coverage of International Women's Day 2013 on the Heifer Blog.
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