Four Ways To Empower Women

Published on 19 October 2010

Women make up slightly more than 50 percent of the world's population, but account for over 60 percent of the world's hungry. Copyright: WFP/Riccardo Gangale

Women hold the key to a future free from hunger and poverty. By supporting women’s education, training them as business leaders, equipping them to become better farmers and aiding those displaced by conflict, the Women’s Empowerment Fund is giving WFP and its supporters a new way to help them do that.

ROME—Starting a business in Ethiopia; getting an education in Cote d’Ivoire, raising yields in Mauritania; rebuilding after conflict in the Philippines—these are just a few examples of the kinds of challenges facing millions of women in the developing world.

As mothers, farmers, teachers and entrepreneurs, a great deal hinges on their success. Evidence shows that with equal access to education, training and means, women can raise the living standards of their families and inject new life into the local economy.

Empowering women

  “People often ask me, what can be done to defeat hunger? If you had all the resources in the world to end hunger, what would you do? My answer is simple: empower women, because women are the secret weapon to fight hunger.”
Josette Sheeran
WFP Executive Director

WFP is working around the world to make sure women succeed—and now you can too. Through the Women’s Empowerment Fund, anyone can choose one of four ways to help women lift themselves out of poverty—and their families and communities along with them.

1. Help them become business leaders

Evidence shows that women in Africa re-invest about 90 percent of their income back into their households compared to between 30 and 40 percent for men. Giving women the knowledge and skills they need to run successful farms and businesses is an efficient way to strengthen poor families.

⇒ Find out how women salt producers from Senegal are raising profits while they stamp out iodine deficiency

2. Help them grown more and better food

Women produce between 60 and 80 percent of the food in most developing countries, despite having less access to land and credit than men do. Providing them with the tools and training they need to raise quality and yields is one of the best ways to increase food production in countries prone to hunger.

Find out how an HIV-positive woman from Kenya beat back the virus while raising her farm yields.

3. Help them rebuild after conflicts

Women are particularly vulnerable in times of conflict, even as their role as providers becomes more important than ever. Easing their return home by giving them the tools and training they need to rebuild can kick-start the recovery process for an entire community.

Find out how food assistance makes recovery possible for victims of rape in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

4. Help them and their daughters get an education

Two thirds or the approximately 75 million children denied an education around the world are girls. Yet studies show that educated women have healthier children, who are more likely to live longer and attend schools themselves. Educating women is thus an important first step towards beating poverty and hunger.

Find out how nutritious school meals helped a girl from Cape Verde escape the hunger trap and become a career woman.