Consider these facts: One out of every six people in the world lives on less than a dollar a day. Seventy-five percent of those people are women. Women produce 50 percent of the world's food, yet own only 1 percent of its land. Of the 876 million illiterate adults in the developing world, two-thirds are women. Every year more than half a million women die from pregnancy-related causes.

CARE aims to empower the disenfranchised, particularly women and girls. Anne Goddard tells me that women have proved to be a more efficient avenue than men for effecting change. "Microfinance programs used to focus a lot on men, but we've found that men use what they earn from these small loans to benefit themselves—buying cigarettes, for instance—while women use it to benefit their families. In the end, if you invest in women, you benefit the whole family." Women are a better financial risk as well: "We have 99 percent repayment rates with women." Education, too, has proved more effective in the long term when directed at women. "Educate a man and you educate an individual," says Goddard, "but educate a woman and you educate a nation." Why? Because women raise the children. "And research shows that the longer a girl stays in school, the fewer children she will have, the healthier those children will be, and the higher her family income. First we need to help women feel powerful, then we need to get them to organize, to use their voices."


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