Establishing the Basics
Women for Women International (WfWI) believes that earning an income is critical to being an active citizen. That's why we focus on helping every woman in our program generate a steady, sustainable form of income.
To help the women in our programs, three major topics must be addressed:
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Cultural and Societal Barriers
A number of attitudes and social inequities may prevent women from gaining economic stability:
- Women's work is viewed as less valuable than men's
- Much of women's work is unpaid or under-paid
- Women often cannot control assets, property and their incomes.
Part of the program's curriculum helps in creating awareness about the value of women's work both inside and outside the home, developing skills for household management, and promoting women's productivity for economic self-sufficiency.
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Money Management Knowledge
Managing finances is an unknown concept to many of the women we serve. Some may have never handled money before entering the WfWI program.
We introduce the concept of savings, and how saving money can help women reach their goals. In addition, WfWI helps:
- Create awareness about the different types of income (employment, self-employment, cooperative groups and enterprises) and expenses, and how to manage planned and unplanned events
- Developing and managing household budgets and savings
- Introducing ideas on how to save effectively, and the various methods of savings available
- Adjusting or remaining within a budget
With an understanding of the basics, women can then examine different income-generating opportunities that may suit their needs and circumstances and begin to set personal income-generating goals.
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Excluded From Economies
A woman's ability to earn a sustained income is severely limited by cultural norms and lack of opportunity in the countries where we operate – which explains why women represent nearly 70% of the world's poor.
At the same time, we know that when women earn an income, society benefits:
- Women reinvest 90% of their income in their families and communities (World Bank)
- Women are more likely to repay their loans
- Women are more likely to use their profits to help the poor and hire other women to work for them