Overview

When a girl is born into poverty, she joins one of the largest groups in the world to be denied basic needs and human rights: poor women. Despite decades of gains in narrowing the gender gap, she still faces massive challenges. You can empower her to realize her full potential by partnering with World Vision.

In some countries, a cultural preference for sons means that daughters are less likely to survive until birth and may be neglected, abandoned, or even killed if they do. Viewed as less valuable than boys, girls who do survive infancy are more likely to be kept home from school and may be the last to receive food or medical care when resources are scarce. As they become women, many girls have limited opportunities and are often treated as property, receiving the message that they cannot have equitable partnerships with — and have less worth than — men and boys.

Women and girls in developing countries are often subjected to poverty and oppression as a result of traditional practices and worldviews that are harmful to their gender. Many are not entitled to own property or inherit land. Social exclusion, honor-based violence, female genital mutilation, trafficking, restricted mobility, and early marriage deny women and girls the right to health and increase the incidence of illness and death.

Why it matters

While the lives of women and girls have improved in some aspects, progress remains slow in many areas. It is encouraging that the gender gap in education has narrowed and maternal health has improved, but women still lag behind in other key measures:
  • Six in 10 of the world’s poorest are women and girls.
  • Every day, women and children in sub-Saharan Africa spend more than 20 million hours collecting water — a massive drain on productivity.
  • Women earn one-fourth less income than men, despite working longer hours.
  • Nearly 800 women die from pregnancy- and childbirth-related causes every day.
  • One in five women report having been sexually abused as children.
  • Two-thirds of the world’s illiterate people are women and girls.

When women and girls are given opportunities to thrive and resources to care for their families, their children get the chance for a healthier childhood and a brighter future — a change that bears fruit through generations. We must act now to secure a better future for the world’s girls and women.

By empowering girls and women to change their stories, we can help change the future — creating an environment in which they are respected, valued, and equipped to transform the world by helping to solve the challenges in their own communities.

Our Approach

World Vision tackles poverty in communities where women and girls struggle the most. Independent research has confirmed World Vision’s impact on gender equality. In 2014, researchers from the Nossal Institute for Global Health in Melbourne, Australia, completed a study of World Vision projects in Bolivia, India, Kenya, and Tanzania. Overall, the research found that big strides had been achieved, including:
  • Increased access to education for girls and greater retention of girls in school
  • Increased participation by women and women’s groups in community planning and decision-making meetings
  • Increased opportunities for income generation for women in areas that previously had been exclusively for men
  • Reduced violence committed between people in intimate relationships
  • Reduced incidence of female genital mutilation
  • Rising age of marriage for girls and boys
Strong Women Strong World

Established in 2012, Strong Women Strong World raises awareness and resources for work specifically aimed at overcoming hardships unique to women and girls and promoting gender equality. As a result over four years, nearly 2 million women and girls have benefited from increased access to clean water, economic assistance, healthcare, and child protection advocacy and services. Strong Women Strong World serves as a connection for women and men worldwide who recognize that women’s empowerment and gender equality are key to lasting social change. Your involvement in Strong Women Strong World sustainably transforms lives for good.

Learn more

Through the involvement of STRONG WOMEN STRONG WORLD partners, World Vision seeks to empower millions of women and girls in the following ways:

WATER: Provide access to clean water, improved sanitation, and hygiene training to improve health and reduce the distance traveled to collect water.

ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT: Equip women with vocational training and small business loans to generate income.

MOTHER AND CHILD HEALTH: Reduce maternal and infant deaths and illness by increasing access to healthcare and offering nutrition education.

EDUCATION: Support learning for girls by providing access to equitable and quality education, and improving literacy and life skills.

CHILD PROTECTION: Raise awareness about girls’ inherent value and fundamental human rights, and advocate for stronger laws to reduce the incidence of child marriage, human trafficking, and gender-based violence.

CHRISTIAN DISCIPLESHIP: Partner with local faith leaders to address gender inequity and abuse.

EMERGENCY RELIEF: Reduce the vulnerability of women and girls to disaster by engaging them as full and equal partners in disaster planning and ensuring equitable access to relief services.

I have seen firsthand the impact that my investment has made in the lives of women, their children, and entire communities. My commitment to Strong Women Strong World and the amazing work being done has deepened through the years as I have witnessed the success that has been experienced thus far.

Kathleen Treat Founder and President, Speranza Foundation and chair of Strong Women Strong World

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When girls are educated and healthy and can avoid early marriage, unwanted pregnancy, and HIV, they can contribute fully to society.

Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin Executive Director, UN Population Fund

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Videos

2017 Highlights

4,860
women and girls benefited from education programming including literacy and basic education, and adolescent life skills and livelihoods in safe schools in Nepal, Syria and Zambia
162,678
women benefited from economic empowerment activities, including access to financial services, savings groups, agricultural training and technology, and access to markets
185,333
women and girls in 8 countries benefited from child protection programs that empowered them to advocate for their rights and protection

News and Stories

Blog

Our team of experts

Yeva Avakyan
Yeva Avakyan
Senior Gender Advisor

Lisa Galvin
Lisa Galvin
Program Management Officer, Child Protection and Education

Alisa Phillips
Alisa Phillips
Senior Education Advisor