Did You Know?
Editor’s Note: According to their website, the Women, Faith, and Development Alliance (WFDA) – “a unique partnership of internationally focused faith, development, and women's organizations – is dedicated to engendering global efforts to reduce poverty by increasing political will and action to increase investments in women's and girls' empowerment around the world.” This is a reflection responding to a Breakfast Briefing sponsored by WFDA for members of the House of Representatives and their staff in Washington on Sept. 30, 2009.
By Harriett Olson*
Did you know:
- All over the world, 1.4 billion people subsist on just over a dollar a day, and the majority of them—829 million—are women and girls?
- More than 60% of the people who are illiterate are women?
- Scholars and United Nations staffers have been saying for decades that unless economic development focuses on women, the world will remain unable to reverse the growth of poverty worldwide?
- The U.S. Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on foreign operations is the only committee in the House of Representatives whose chair and ranking member are both women?
- The Department of State, under the leadership of Hillary Rodham Clinton, has begun a Quadrennial review of spending on development and diplomacy, designed to parallel the Pentagon’s quadrennial review of defense spending?
- The Women, Faith and Development Alliance (WFDA), of which United Methodist Women is a member, sponsored an SRO briefing on gender in foreign aid attended by Representatives Nita Lowey (D-NY), Kay Granger (R-TX) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)?
- Leaders from the Islamic Relief organization, Catholic Relief Services, the National Council of Churches, Women Thrive and United Methodist Women are working together, through WFDA, to urge congress and the administration to make women’s human rights and economic development one of the granting criteria for US foreign aid?
What does this mean for United Methodist Women?
- We can support our women-centered schools, hospitals, clinics and economic development efforts around the world with renewed vigor, knowing that they are not only core to our particular calling, but also that they can make more of a difference than larger budgets focused on trade or governments or structures other than women and families.
- We may have new partners in both advocacy and action on this effort to transform US foreign aid.
- We may also get new access to leaders who can hear the stories of women, children and youth with whom we work—this means more briefings, hearings and advocacy.
- We can be part of a faith-based coalition that lets Congress and the Department of State know that they have our support for revising our foreign aid priorities.
How good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters dwell together in harmony! (Ps. 133:1)
Stay tuned! We will be calling on you for letters, calls and visits to our legislative representatives to express your support as work on this effort proceeds.