The Future Importance of Women
The Clinton Global Initiative 2015 Annual Meeting wrapped up early last week, and over the three days (26-29 September), global figureheads converged on New York to discuss a hot and crucial topic: global female empowerment and leadership.
Several panels and discussions were held to address the problems, necessary changes, and present successes for women around the world. One of the panels was called “Giving Girls A Chance,” which discussed the importance of investing in the future of little girls so that one day they can become leaders of communities, companies, and countries. The panel featured several empowering women, like Tina Brown, founder and CEO of Tina Brown Live Media and Women in the World, and Michelle Miller, President and CEO of CARE, the non-profit organization.
The panel’s main point of discussion is the potential of female leaders. If empowered with the appropriate job skills, girls could increase global GDP by as much as 5.4 percent, the panel description said. Throughout the discussion, they spoke about the resources needed by young girls to succeed, namely education. Today, there are 39 million uneducated girls in the world, and 510 million women are illiterate.
One of the Clinton Foundation’s overall main social initiatives is female empowerment at all ages. According to the foundation’s website, their programs empower young women and girls by “expanding access to education, increasing economic opportunity, and providing critical health care to young mothers and their newborns.” In the past, the organization has provided health care to HIV-positive mothers and their children to reduce the risk of mother-to-child transmission; they have invested in female Haitian artisans to both stimulate the Haitian economy after the devastating 2010, and to encourage women to create and maintain their own operations; and most recently, the foundation has been advocating for gender equality in male-heavy professions, such as the sciences and technology.
According to facts from the foundation’s website, women make up 70% of global poverty, earn only 10% of global income, but produce half of the world’s food. In their words, women are “the world’s most underserved—and undervalued—resource.” Around the world, women are oppressed, beaten, enslaved, raped and killed everyday because of their gender. In the United States, 14.6% of executive officers are female, and thousands of others face workplace discrimination due to their gender. In Saudi Arabia, women are prohibited to go anywhere without a man present, drive a car, or swim or participate in any sport. India India is ranked the fourth most dangerous country for women, according to a Reuters poll, with several gangs rapes a week, arranged marriages to older men for girls under 18 years old, and kept as slaves and servants by their controlling and abusive husbands or fathers. In China, it was once a tradition to orphan, or even try and kill baby girls because baby boys were far more honorable.
Today’s conditions for women are brutal, but he hopeful effect of these discussions, along with the CGI’s initiative, is to develop a core of humans that will fight for gender equality, the education of little girls, and the empowerment of women worldwide.