Choice and Opportunity: How Women Help Build Sustainable Communities

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SEATTLE — Women are, even today, viewed as housekeepers whose jobs are to bear and take care of children. In a study by World Bank, women globally earn less than men and remain more vulnerable to poverty. But multiple studies show women help build sustainable communities when educated and given fair pay. Here are some reasons why countries should start investing in their women.

World Bank is an organization dedicated to finding sustainable solutions that reduce poverty. In 2012 World Bank’s World Development Report (WDR) showed that gender equality enhances economic productivity because women represent more than 40 percent of the global workforce. Right now, gender inequalities waste women’s unused skills, creating a direct loss for the economy.

As of 2015, the OECD, an organization that conducts research about global trends, estimates that out of the 74 countries the organization represents, a 50 percent reduction in the gender gap would increase the GDP by six percent. Additionally, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim quotes at a panel in 2015, “When women earn more, public finances improve and commercial profits increase because of increased demand and productivity.”

Simply put, women help build sustainable communities when able to work and receive fair wages because they spend more. Women tend to spend their money on health, education and their children; something that the World Bank has also written about.

The World Bank’s WDR (2012) showed that when women control some amount of household income they spend more money on food, the survival rate of children increases and more children go to school. One example in China showed that when women’s household income spending increased by ten percent, girl’s survival rate went up one percentage point and increased years of schooling for both boys and girls. Women help build sustainable communities by spending money on their children so that this new generation will be smarter, healthier and ultimately able to contribute to the community in impactful ways.

Women also take care of their children by investing in their own education and health. According to the 2012 WDR, healthier women have healthier children that are more likely to survive. Educated women are also more likely to immunize their children and provide better nutritional care. Also, the more education a woman has the more their children will study. Children of Pakistani mothers with one more year of schooling spent one more hour studying and scored higher on tests.

The more control of choices and opportunities that women have, the more women help build sustainable communities. The benefits of investing in women range from global economic boost, a decrease of mortality rates in women and children and greater attention to the new generation. All of these benefits have the potential to create a more sustainable, productive and positive community.

Deanna Wetmore
Photo: Flickr

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About Author

Deanna Wetmore

Deanna writes for The Borgen Project from Wynantskill, NY, which is a small town outside of Albany.
She is a journalism major currently studying at Ithaca College.
Deanna loves photography and aspires to travel around the world as a journalist and be a photojournalist as well as a reporter.

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