International Women’s Day
7 Mar 2012 | Blog | Australia | Australia | Long-term Development
Every year, on 8 March, we celebrate International Women’s Day and in 2012 the theme is Women’s Economic Empowerment.
Women make up 70% of the world’s poor. They face – particularly in developing countries – systematic discrimination in education, employment, healthcare, control of assets and participation.
Here are some other facts* that might surprise you:
- Women do two-thirds of the world's work but earn less than 10% of the world's wages
- On average, women reinvest 90% of their income into families while men invest only 30-40%
- In Australia alone, closing the gap between female and male employment will boost Australia's GDP by 11%.
Economically empowering women often results in the benefits flowing throughout the whole community. Research has shown that women are more likely than men to spend their earnings on the health and wellbeing of their family by providing food, medicine and education. Increased female education levels are also linked with improvements in maternal and child health, as well as infant survival rates. Find out more here.
Budgeting for Life
To achieve sustainable growth and development however, everyone – women, men and children – need to be involved. Caritas Australia is assisting Aboriginal communities to be self-sufficient and economically empowered through the Manage Your Income, Manage Your Life program.
A unique financial management program, Manage Your Income, Manage Your Life is managed by Centacare Wilcannia-Forbes designed specifically for and by Australian Indigenous people in Western NSW.
The disparity between many Indigenous Australians and non-Indigenous living in the New South Wales town of Dubbo is vast. Decades of inequality have left a community disempowered, however this program, which focuses on improving financial literacy and money management skills, is also increasing the confidence and self-worth of local Indigenous women, and strengthening a once divided community.
“I have hope … it’s a big thing. I have hope for the future” – a participant of the program.
Wiradjuri elder, Ellen Doolan, featured in Project Compassion 2007. Ellen is one of six accredited Indigenous Financial Counsellors involved with the program.
“Our community was quite divided. We felt very isolated by economic and social disadvantage; this program has empowered lots of local women to take control of their finances,” said Ellen.
“Giving people the power to look after their money eases stress and gives confidence in many areas of life.”
There are many opportunities and advantages to the Manage Your Income, Manage Your Life program:
- Upskilling in communities
- Leadership skills development
- Establishes networking and mentoring opportunities
- Builds self-reliance and increases confidence in money management.
Ellen was one of six Project Compassion beneficiaries in 2007. In 2012, we are featuring stories from six females (women/girls) from around the globe. Please head to our Project Compassion page for more.
1. Flabiana – Timor Leste (East Timor): Flabiana's life was rebuilt after conflict. "Living in peace we can do everything for our future."
2. Khin – Thai/Burma border: Khin’s family are among the poorest in the community, but her future looks bright.
3. Colletta – Zimbabwe: Colletta was integral in the delivery of clean water, nutritious food from a community garden, sanitation facilities and the raising of livestock for her community. We recently received news that Colletta passed away. Her courage in life means she has left a legacy which will live on in her community for a long time to come.
4. Bae Lisa – Philippines: Bae Lisa hopes for lasting peace so the people of Mindanao can live a life of peace and dignity.
5. Judy – Peru: Life is brighter for Judy, her husband and eight children with the support of Mercy Family Health Services.
6. Audrey – Indigenous Australia: In partnership with Caritas, Audrey is helping to improve health in remote Aboriginal communities.
*Source: UN Women Australia
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