For this year’s International Women’s Day, the theme is gender parity and equality in the workforce.
Improving educational and employment opportunities for women is critical to fostering inclusive economic growth, as women not only represent half of the world’s population – as well as global labour supply – but are also more likely to invest in their families.
We have developed a microcredit scheme in Cusco, Peru, with our local partner Amhauta directed towards helping women in Indigenous communities. Microcredits are small loans provided to women to invest in their own businesses, for example buying crops or animals which can be grown or reared and then sold for a profit. These are offered on a rotating basis and have to be paid back every three months in order to then be reinvested across the various groups.
Over 80 women are now receiving microcredits, with many beginning to take the initiative to look into the right markets to sell their products. For example, some have developed small collectives that are making and selling Artisan products in Cusco.
As part of a larger project, Quality and Equality in Education in Peru, this initiative is closely linked with supporting mothers to increase the amount of money invested in their children’s education and the amount of quality time they spend with them, as well improving mother’s literacy skills and empowering them towards greater political participation at the local community level.
To date, this increased financial independence has successfully enabled women to take the lead in their children’s care and educational provision, with many even teaching their husbands how to better engage with their children. This shows how empowering women is key to sustainable development for entire communities; something that needs to be tapped into much more.
To be part of the global movement calling for a more gender inclusive world, #BEBOLDFORCHANGE