In the course of marketing my book I’ve been asked many times for my advice for folk wondering what they can do to make this world a better place. One small step I recommend is to donate to an organisation like 100 Women, that prioritises women’s economic empowerment, because the return on that investment is huge.
I’ve seen first hand in my ten years of international development work that when women contribute financially to the household it changes the dynamics of who makes the decisions.
When women have a greater say where household expenditure goes its more likely to be spent on the family’s health, education, and nutrition. That’s a fact that’s been verified many times over by research, (and a fact possibly known by women all over the world without having it verified by research).
When women are empowered economically, they also gain greater legitimacy in public discourse. During the years I spent working alongside DPOs (disabled people’s organisations) and Community Based Rehabilitation Programs in India, Bangladesh, China, Cambodia and Vietnam I saw the collective power of women. I saw mothers of children with disabilities coming together to advocate for their children to attend school and pressuring local authorities to improve safety for girls, among other things.
My book tells the story of Ammanuel, whose mum couldn’t find work because of stigma about his disability. She accessed microcredit to set up a small business cooking food on the roadside, and made enough money to pay for food and stable accommodation for them both.
My book also tells the stories of housebound young girls who learnt to walk again after being paralysed from TB of the spine, which meant they could return to school, finish their education and play with their pals. What I didn’t include in my book was the story of the community based rehabilitation program running alongside the physio department, that worked with local schools and authorities to overcome the stigma and physical barriers for kids with disabilities to attend, which empowered countless other girls and boys to access education. There is only space for so many stories in one book, unfortunately.
But with 100 Women’s giving circle you can be part of unlimited stories of women turning their lives around. Whether it’s utilising microcredit to change their individual circumstances or coming together to create job opportunities in the community; and working to overcome the structural inequalities facing women.
In 2019 their grants supported women overseas, in Aboriginal communities in the Kimberley and programs for culturally and linguistically diverse communities in WA, and 100% of donations go to their grants pool. And it’s 100% homegrown – it’s based in Perth! There’s one hundred more reasons why 100 Women are awesome (sorry, that’s corny but I couldn’t resist). You can look them up here: www.100women.org.au