November 23, 2013

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Help Women, Heal the World

The New York Times Magazine recently did a big story on Why Women’s Rights Are the Cause of Our Time, and it could not be ignored. Think about it: In a very large sense, women raise children. They rear the future of humanity! And yet 70 percent of people living in poverty are women and children.

The world turns a blind eye to many atrocities committed against women, like “bride burnings” in India, which occur at a rate of once every two hours to punish or kill women whose husbands are unhappy with their dowries or who want to remarry. And not much attention is paid to the 39,000 baby girls who die annually in China because parents don’t give them the same medical care and attention that boys — more valuable children in that culture — receive.

Read the magazine for yourself to find out more — you’ll be shocked and moved to action. So here are three productive ways to channel that outrage, abroad and here at home:

1. kiva.org. Find a female entrepreneur to support on this micro-lending site. Add in your loan, as little as a few dollars, to get these women the supplies to start a small business that will not only earn your investment back, but also create a new life for their families. After you’ve given, pick up one of these handy widgets for your blog or facebook page to encourage your friends to help too.

2. gems-girls.org. According to a recent study, at least 300,000 children and adolescents are prostituted every year in the United States. Excuse me, but WTF?! Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS) works with girls ages 12-21 who have been sexually exploited, empowering them to leave the sex industry and develop to their full potential. GEMS also fights to change perceptions and laws that allow teenage girls to be arrested for prostitution (instead of their clients being arrested for statutory RAPE? Hello!)

3. oneacrefund.org. This organization makes it possible for families — largely headed by women — to farm local land and earn profits for a brighter future. Working in Kenya and Rwanda, your donation goes to seeds and fertilizer, farm education and market access. Giving just $20 per month supports a family of six for a year, and the personal stories you’ll find on the website will make your heart swell.

Find out about more ways to help here. It just takes a little bit of what you already have.