Every Wednesday on our blog, we highlight an article, book or a blog in our “What We’re Reading” series. We’ll feature pieces or works that are noteworthy, inspiring, educational or relevant to the work we do at Opportunity. We welcome your comments in the comment field below–tell us what you’re reading, or respond to the piece that we’ve highlighted.
This week we’re reading the September 2010 report from MediaPlanet in USA Today entitled “Investing in Women & Girls: Dedicating Resources to a Single Woman Has a Ripple Effect on her Entire Community.” It’s an independent report featuring expert editorials–from everyone from Oprah Winfrey to http://www.opportunity.org/blog/melinda-french-gates-on-the-impact-of-agriculture-finance/Melinda Gates[/intlink] to Corinne Woods, the director of the http://www.opportunity.org/blog/un-gathers-this-week-to-eradicate-poverty-through-the-mdgs/U.N. Millennium Campaign[/intlink]–with testimonials as to why it is essential to be investing in http://www.opportunity.org/womens-opportunity-network/women and girls[/intlink] on a global scale.
In addition to the editorials and interviews, the report outlines five key steps to change the world by empowering women and girls:
- Provide Quality Healthcare
- Access to Financial Resources
- Raise Awareness
- Encourage Gender Equality
- Educate Girls
Corinne Woods, director of the U.N. Millennium Campaign:
- “The Millenium Development Goals have the power to bring about tangible change in the lives of women and girls.”
- “Make sure your elected representatives know that you support the administration’s new MDG strategy and efforts to prioritize the Millennium Development Goals. Advocate for the Goals in the media and educate your friends and neighbors.”
- Go to endpoverty2015.org and standagainstpoverty.org to learn how you can do more
“The New Businesswoman”:
- Afghan entrepreneur Masooma Habibi participated in http://www.opportunity.org/blog/opportunity-attends-the-10000-women-leadership-academy/Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Women Program[/intlink], where she learned practical skills like accounting, human resources management, and marketing.
- After graduating in 2009, she started her own electrical engineering firm, and has managed to grow her business despite competition from male-owned companies, cultural prejudice in a predominantly male field, and security risks.
- Masooma’s goal is to start an electrical laboratory, and she hopes to establish a nonprofit organization to create job opportunities for all Afghan women.
- “A businesswoman makes her own money to support herself and change her life—but it wasn’t just to have my own business. I knew that if I had a successful business, I could help the poor people around me.” – Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Graduate Masooma Habibi
Q & A: Melinda French Gates on the Gates Foundation’s commitment to women’s philanthropy:
- “We’re seeing tremendous momentum around the idea that investments in women save lives and help their families, communities and nations to thrive.”
- “Technology has already had a huge impact on women’s lives [in the developing world].”
- “In Kenya, more than nine million people are using cell phones to transfer money [and manage their finances]. This means that women who previously may not have had access to a banking system can now send money to their children’s schools or other family members, or set up and access a savings account. This is revolutionary.”
Oprah Winfrey, Founder of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, South Africa:
- “When you educate a girl… you start to affect her family, her community, her nation. When you educate a girl, that girl becomes a woman who understands the value of an education and educates her children.”
- “[At the academy,] we support the development of a new generation of women leaders who, by virtue of their education and service, will lead the charge to transform themselves, their communities, and the larger world around them. [...We will] help raise the next generation of transformative South African leaders.”
Interested in learning more about how Opportunity invests almost 85% of its donor dollars to providing http://www.opportunity.org/what-is-microfinance/microfinance[/intlink] services to women? Attend our http://www.opportunity.org/opportunity-international-conference/breakout-sessions/breakout session[/intlink]–Investing in Half the Sky: Why Women? Why Now?–at the fall microfinance conference, Oct. 8-9, in Washington, D.C. Hear stories of hope and empowerment from Alice Gasatura, director of credit support at Opportunity Rwanda; Julie Hindmarsh, member of our Board of Directors; and Ruth-Anne Renaud, our VP of women’s philanthropy. http://www.opportunity.org/opportunity-international-conference/Click here[/intlink] to see the full agenda for the conference, and to register[/intlink].