One of the best ways to improve the lives of people in poverty is to channel development money to them. It’s the old, “Teach a man to fish” theory. Only what has become increasingly apparent over the last few decades is that it’s actually more effective to channel small amounts of finance, usually via micro-finance programs, to women. Women, for whatever reason, tend to use the money to pay for their children’s education, cover healthcare costs, and use the money for improvements to their community, raising standards of living for everyone. (Recently, one woman in India, in rebellion against the low standards of sanitation in India and specifically her new home, took a stand for a modern toilet, and was even rewarded by an international aid agency!)
But finally, the idea that empowering women and providing them with access to finance works, is becoming mainstream, to the point where even the U.N. is recognizing this fact. There was an interesting article about this process recently, but going even further, and speculating on the enormous and untapped economic power of the women in developing countries, referred to as the “Third Billion.”
And it’s pretty easy if you want to help support women in developing countries these days thanks to traditional organizations’ increasing adoption of micro-finance as a development tool, “social businesses” like Kiva.com, and even organizations like Microplace.com which provide investment opportunities for people in the developed world benefiting those in the not-so-developed world.
But this is more than just a huge increase in both entrepreneurs and consumers into the global marketplace. Women have different styles of working which are often less competitive and more collaborative. In the future, we may have a very different kind of economy if current trends continue.
Thanks for stopping by,