Women’s economic empowerment

Fasika Altasbe in Ethiopia holding money she has earned following livelihoods support from CARE

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Women and girls make up the majority of the poorest people in the world today

Infographic on women and work

2.8 billion people – nearly half the world’s population – survive on less than $2 a day. And 1.2 billion of them live on less than $1.25 – that’s about £1 – a day.

The majority of them are women and girls.

These figures are unacceptable – but actually, we’ve made great progress in fighting poverty in recent years. The proportion of people living in extreme poverty has fallen across Asia, Latin America and Africa since 1990.

But about 1 in 5 people in developing countries still live on less than £1 a day. And in sub-Saharan Africa, 48% of the population live on less than £1 a day.

But we can change that. Watch this short video about the Skilling for Change project in Rwanda to find out how empowering women can unlock prosperity.

So how can we make even more progress, and make it faster?

The answer is to empower women to build better livelihoods, earn more income, and create businesses that provide jobs and boost local economies. Because when women earn, everyone benefits: not just the women, but their families, their communities, and the local economy.

Polly Ngungi, a 26-year-old mother of two in Kenya, is just one example. Married at 15 and having dropped out of school in form 3, she joined a CARE village savings group, received business training, and with a small loan set up a business selling petrol to local motorcycle owners. With further loans, she opened a corner-shop and a barber-shop. She now employs three people and has bought a plot of land to grow food for her family and for sale in the local market.

She started out wondering how she would manage “if my children got sick or needed school fees, food or clothing” – now she speaks proudly of her “financial and investment goals” which include expanding the shop and opening a petrol station.

Last year, we helped nearly 1.8 million women to participate in economic activities and have increased access to and control over economic resources.

By the year 2020, we aim to have helped 30 million women like Polly to have greater access to and control over economic resources – giving them the tools and resources they need to lift themselves and their families out of poverty.