Women and Poverty
We live today in a world that is a far far cry from that of our forefathers. While our individual and traditional roles as wives, mothers, or sisters will always be with us. The door has been opened to a wider horizons that allow us to be leaders, movers, innovators and agents of change. We have been empowered by the opportunities of education and technology and now, more than ever, in this globalized world, we are in a position to make positive difference to the lives of many to become better individuals.
As human development moves towards the center on the global stage, people’s participation in the development process is now recognized as crucial. Suddenly, the world’s attention focused on the realities and dreams of the people . . . the quest for a life of dignity and opportunity for all. Global realignment of nations towards new direction, with the development of mass media, advent of nuclear power and whether we like it or not, the feminization of poverty has become a global phenomenon due to population explosion. Women now constitute at least 70 percent of the world’s 1.3 billion absolute poor. All these have contributed to the creation of constantly evolving environment requiring radical changes not only in the behavior of individuals, but also the organizations and institutions, specially our leaders.
Recently reports about the world financial recession, massive natural disasters, and the dangers of terrorism have dominant the news. Another crisis that has been relatively overlooked is the crisis of the breakdown of the family and family values. Losing values undermines the integrity of marriage and the family unit, and weakens the personal bond between generations. Traditional values and morals that previously were transmitted through extended families have been served, and urban areas on many continents have become hotspots of crime, AIDS epidemics, and are plagued by social disorder.
GPW believes that the family is a necessary foundation in order to achieve peace. The family is the ground upon which the seed that is children’s character can sprout and grow. By teaching and modeling responsibility, the family prepares them to become productive members of society. Thus solving the societal and world issues goes hand with solving the problems of the family breakdown. The nurturing nature and dedication of mother, sister, and daughter are needed in the leadership world as well as the family
Of the approximately 70 million Filipinos, an estimated 39.2 percent live below the poverty level and majority of the affected are women. Despite this, statistics reflect women’s biological advantage over men as we continue to outlive men with our life expectancy. Regardless of age, women exhibit mortality rates than men. During infancy, male mortality rate is about a third higher than female’s and more than twice higher at older ages, that is, from age 24 to 64.
However, this statistic does not necessarily indicate that the health needs of women have been met. We refer to health here as the state of complete physical, mental, emotional and social well-being and not merely the absence of diseases or infirmity nor even the longevity of life. The state of one’s health is determined by her social, political and economic milieu. However, health and well-being elude the majority of women. A major barrier to women’s achievement of the highest attainable standard of health is the existing inequality between men and women and among women of different races, social status and/or ethnic groups. In national and international fora, women have stressed the value of equality, development and peace as pre-conditions to attaining optimum health.
Due to these current scenarios, women are now faced with new challenges and imperatives of the future. We are being called upon to forge ahead with a collective voice and with timely, relevant and responsive actions. While many of today’s problems are the result of decisions in which women may not have participated at all, tomorrow’s solutions should be designed with the full participation of women. Because we are vital players in creating innovations and in proposing new ways of interventions.
Thank you and Mabuhay!!!