I just returned from four days in Atlanta where I attended the Womens Funding Network’s annual conference. I have enough material to blog daily for the next month, and honestly, I do not know where to begin, so I might as well begin at the end.
Our closing keynote was delivered by the most amazing, two-time Pulitzer prize winning journalist, Nicholas Kristof, whom I had the honor of introducing. Nic is a passionate and informed voice on issues that matter to me most: human trafficking, rape, genocide, poverty, health, education, human rights, gender equality and more. His message today was a simple one, the key to economic development is investing in women. Sound familiar? I hope so. You have read about it many times on this blog.
He sees “gender equity as the issue of our century.” I cannot tell you how refreshing it is to hear a man say that. So why is it about women? Because of a logic model called the “woman effect.” When you provide economic and human security for a woman, she does so for her family, for her community and the world. He gave this as an example. A study was done in Africa that showed that when an extra dollar of income went in to the hands of a man 20% of it was spent on alcohol, tobacco, and prostitution, and only 2% on education. When that money went in to the hands of a woman, that money went for caring for her family, including education. That is just one example, and of course there are plenty of men for which this is not true, but sadly, for many it is.
It was an amazing weekend and I come back energized, infused, and activated to continue the work I do to make this world a more just and equitable place for women and girls. If you missed this year, do come next year. You will be glad you did.
Conference material will be available soon on the Womens Funding Network Web-site.