In the nearly quarter-century from 1990 until today, the number of people living in extreme poverty has declined by about half (from roughly two billion to one billion) over a period during which the population of the world has grown from 5.3 to 7.2 billion people. As a result, the proportion of those living in extreme poverty -- defined by the World Bank as $1.25 or less per day -- has declined from close to 40% to 15%.
This progress in reducing rates of extreme poverty has been accomplished in large measure due to unusually high rates of growth, especially in East Asia, where poverty rates have fallen most dramatically. Over the same quarter-century Gross World Product has risen from $28 billion in 1990 to nearly $74 billion in 2014, lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty in every region of the world.
Women's literacy, education, empowerment, and work have played a huge role in this success. In the decade from 1999-2009, the ratio of girls' to boys' enrolment in primary school globally jumped from 91% to 97% -- very close to parity. In just over a decade, the number of women working outside of agriculture jumped from 20% to 40%. There have been similar gains in women's literacy, and secondary and tertiary education in all parts of the world.
But the challenge of unlocking the full creative and economic potential of the world's women still lies ahead. At Far & Wide Collective we want to be part of unleashing women’s entrepreneurship in the places where this has not yet been done.
As you may know, on March 8th it is International Women’s Day and the theme this year is “inspiring change”. Far & Wide Collective seeks to inspire change by setting women in developing economies on the same path that our mothers, grandmothers, great grandmothers and generations before them set us on. Women are critical in breaking the circle of poverty. Connecting them to markets and giving them economic freedom is the most powerful way to do this.
Follow along on our blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and read about a handful of the wonderful women we work with around the world and how they are inspiring change.