Because all people should have access to the same resources and opportunities
From birth, women and girls are denied their fair share of resources like money, education and leadership opportunities. It is unacceptable that women should be disadvantaged compared to men. Women and girls bear the brunt of poverty and are more severely affected by crises like climate change, disasters, COVID-19, conflict and other emergencies.
Righting this wrong will benefit entire communities, because when one woman escapes poverty, she’ll bring four others with her.
Throughout history, women and gender-diverse people have been denied rights and resources, and excluded from the decisions that impact their lives. No matter how wealthy or poor a country is, we see the same patterns of gender inequality but in different ways.
When food is scarce, it is the women who will go without. Girls are more likely than boys to be pulled out of school to work or help around the home, and women’s work is grossly undervalued. The types of work women tend to perform, such as caring for children, the elderly and the sick, are low paid — if they’re paid at all!
And right now, our vision — one of a world of hope, inclusion and social justice, where poverty has been overcome and people of all genders live with dignity and security — faces unprecedented global threats.
Decades of progress reducing extreme poverty and the realisation of hard-fought gains in rights have been pushed into sharp reverse by a combination of the COVID-19 pandemic and the growing climate crisis. The impact of COVID-19 has already pushed tens of millions of people back into extreme poverty and threatens to push back a generation’s worth of gains in reducing gender inequality. Although all people have been affected, women and girls are bearing the brunt.
Our programs focus on women because we know that we cannot overcome poverty until all people have equal rights and opportunities. And women have critical roles — women are often the first responders, the carers, the providers.
When a woman has the tools and opportunity to lift herself out of poverty, she brings her family and her community with her. When her voice is listened to, she speaks not just for herself, but for others too. Around the world, women reinvest significant amounts of their income back into their families. That’s why investing in women isn’t just about women’s rights or human rights — it’s the smartest way to help communities defeat poverty.
When it comes to defeating poverty and helping communities withstand disasters and crises, working with and supporting women is the solution. When one woman escapes poverty, she’ll bring four others with her — and that’s a powerful multiplier.
No more ‘women’s work’
Despite working long hours, Marlena and her husband Mishael in Papua New Guinea struggled to make a living because of the challenges involved in looking after their cocoa farm and supporting their children. They also struggled to save enough money to improve their family’s lives.
But now, thanks to training from CARE, “We have seen big changes … Through the training, we learned that it’s not just a woman’s job to look after the kids, but that we can work as well. My husband and I now help each other prepare food, the children’s breakfast, look after the kids. We used to spend money on things we didn’t need, like food and clothes, or petrol. But now, after the training, we prioritise our goals.”
The training has taught couples to more equitably share farming duties and household chores, breaking down cultural gender norms, and demonstrating the benefits and importance of shared decision-making.
“Before, our relationship was not so strong. But now, we communicate more and work together and our bond is getting stronger and stronger. We share work together, share responsibility, I am very happy now.
“I focus most on achieving our goals together and getting the kids an education. And working together to achieve our goals.
We have no worries now. I am confident that we can face the future together.”
Marlena and Mishael have saved enough money to buy new roofing iron for their house which has made them realise they can work together to achieve their shared goals — something they never knew they could do!
Some of our key gender equality projects
- STOP Sexual Harassment project – working in the Mekong to address sexual harassment in the garment industry
- Village Savings and Loans (VSLA) – over twenty-five years ago in eastern Niger, a modest metal lockbox helped change the world
- Boosting Coffee Production – supporting coffee farmers to increase their income
- Leftemap Sista – building leadership and skills for women in Vanuatu
- The EMERGE Program – supporting migrant urban women in Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam
- Linking women’s economic empowerment, gender-based violence, and sexual reproductive health and rights