Women and World Population Day
By Lisa Anderson
July 2, 2010

The focus of the 2010 observance of World Population Day will be to highlight the importance of data for development. Reliable data makes a difference, and the key is to collect, analyze and disseminate data in a way that drives good decision making. The numbers that emerge from data collection can illuminate important trends. Data collection and dissemination is also another way of telling the story of the diverse communities that make up our world; what their struggles are and what needs to happen in order to bring about social change.

Here is some compelling data ‘that tells the story’ of women and girls across the globe.

Women and work
There is a direct link between increased female labour participation and growth: It is estimated that if women’s paid employment rates were raised to the same level as men’s, America’s GDP would be 9 percent higher; the euro-zone’s would be 13 percent higher, and Japan’s would be boosted by 16 percent. Women’s nominal wages are 17 percent lower than men’s. Women perform 66 percent of the world’s work, produce 50 percent of the food, but earn 10 percent of the income and own 1 percent of the property . Source: United National Development Fund for Women UNIFEM

What you can do

Learn more about women entrepreneurs across the globe and how to support them. Women’s World Banking was established in 1979 to be a voice and change agent for poor women entrepreneurs. Its goal is to continue to build a network of strong financial institutions around the world and ensure that the rapidly changing field of microfinance focuses on women as clients, innovators and leaders.

Women and education
The developing regions as a whole are approaching gender parity in educational enrollment. In 2008, there were 96 girls for every 100 boys enrolled in primary school, and 95 girls for every 100 boys enrolled in secondary school. In 1999, the ratios were 91:100 and 88:100 for the two levels of education, respectively. Despite this progress, gender parity in primary and secondary education—a target that was to be met by 2005—is still out of reach for many developing regions. Source: Millennium Development Goals, 2010

What you can do

Help strengthen and cultivate the technical skills of women and girls at the grassroots level. For the past thirteen years The Neighborhood Technical Assistance Clinic has been a leader in this effort. Auburn is proud to partner with NTAC on our Ain’t I A Leader initiative. Together we work on expanding the impact of African-American women faith leaders for social change. Look for information about the 2010-2011 Ain’t I A Leader programs.

Women and Violence
Globally, up to six out of every ten women experience physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime. A World Health Organization study of 24,000 women in 10 countries found that the prevalence of physical and/or sexual violence by a partner varied from 15 percent in urban Japan to 71 percent in rural Ethiopia, with most areas being in the 30–60 percent range.

Violence against women and girls has far-reaching consequences, harming families and communities. For women and girls 16–44 years old, violence is a major cause of death and disability. In 1994, a World Bank study on ten selected risk factors facing girls and women in this age group, found rape and domestic violence more dangerous than cancer, motor vehicle accidents, war and malaria. Studies also reveal increasing links between violence against women and HIV and AIDS. A survey among 1,366 South African women showed that women who were beaten by their partners were 48 percent more likely to be infected with HIV than those who were not. Source: Millennium Development Goals, 2010

What you can do

Help women survivors of war rebuild their lives. Women for Women International is an organization dedicated to this rebuilding effort. Learn more about this amazing organization and its founder Zainab Salbi. Auburn Seminary honored Zainab in 2006 at Auburn’s Annual Lives of Commitment Breakfast.

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