International Women’s Day is a great opportunity to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political accomplishments of women. It’s also the perfect opportunity for all of us to learn more about the ramifications of gender inequality, and what we can do to help.
At Cotopaxi, our foundational goal is to fight poverty. And in order to fight poverty, addressing and combating gender inequality is key. In fact, just as much as poverty exacerbates gender inequality, the inverse is also true: Gender inequality is one of the main contributors to poverty at large. The two go hand-in-hand to an extent that many of us may not realize.
The good news? Research has consistently shown that investing in girls’ education has a lasting positive impact on all members of a community. It is one of the best ways to improve lives for women and children, as well as the lives of men. Here’s a closer look: In Latin American and Caribbean regions of the world, children of mothers with no education are 3.1 times more likely to die than those with mothers who have secondary or tertiary education, and 1.6 times more likely to die than those whose mothers have primary-level education.
A student works on an online class through an ADCAM school in Brazil.
Cotopaxi is committed to ensuring that historic and ongoing gender gaps that have increased due to COVID-19 are closed. To ensure that all girls and women stand on equal footing to thrive, we have partnered with Mona Foundation to provide education access to girls in rural communities in the Americas.
A new, long-term grantee partner in our impact portfolio, the Mona Foundation works to alleviate global poverty and support community-led transformation so that no child ever goes to bed hungry, is lost to preventable diseases, or is deprived of the gift of education for lack of resources. Together, we’ll work specifically to provide education access to girls in Brazil and Panama. You can learn more about how our ongoing grant to the Mona Foundation will help girls in these two countries here and here.
Two students read together at an ADCAM school in Brazil.
A group of students at Escuela Badí in Panama City.
The following information provides even greater context as to the importance and urgency of our new grant with the Mona Foundation:
- Gender inequality is a major cause and effect of hunger and poverty: it is estimated that 60 percent of chronically impoverished and malnourished people are women and girls. (Source: WFP Gender Policy and Strategy.)
According to UNESCO estimates, around the world, 132 million girls are out of school, including 34.3 million of primary school age, 30 million of lower-secondary school age, and 67.4 million of upper-secondary school age.
COVID-19 has had a negative impact on girls’ health and well-being—and many are at risk of not returning to school once they reopen. Available research shows that prevalence of violence against girls and women has increased during the pandemic, jeopardizing their health, safety and overall well-being.
- Women make up more than two-thirds of the world's 796 million illiterate people.
- According to global statistics, just 39 percent of rural girls attend secondary school. This is far fewer than rural boys (45 percent), urban girls (59 percent) and urban boys (60 percent).
- Every additional year of primary school increases girls' eventual wages by 10–20 percent. It also encourages them to marry later and have fewer children, and leaves them less vulnerable to violence.
- While progress has been made in reducing the gender gap in urban primary school enrollment, data from 42 countries shows that rural girls are twice as likely as urban girls to be out of school.
Students work together on a group project as part of ADCAM's Young Apprentice Program in Brazil.
We're excited to see the positive effects of our ongoing grant to the Mona Foundation, and of course, to share them with you.