Help Poor Women and Children Unlock their Potential

Help Poor Women and Children Unlock their Potential

    1. Sponsored by

      Grameen Foundation

Today, the world’s poor are survivors, with motivation and skills honed from their daily struggle just to live. They share the same dreams that we all do: a warm house, enough food to eat and a better life for their children.

However, not everyone sees their strengths, and the poor are locked out of opportunities to reach their full potential.

Grameen Foundation believes that all of us - even the poorest citizens of our world – can reach our full potential if given access to the right information and resources. Do you agree?

Take a stand for poor women and children and help unlock their potential by signing this pledge right now.

So what, exactly, has the power to unlock potential?

Microfinance unlocks potential. Maria in the Philippines used a $73 microloan to expand her roadside business and sell sweetened bananas on a stick. Eventually, she earned enough to open a restaurant on the side of the highway!

Farming information unlocks potential. Caroline was a farmer in Uganda with sick chickens. Thanks to our mobile app, she learned she could feed them aloe vera in their water to cure them. Her livelihood was saved thanks to this vital information.

Health information unlocks potential. In Ghana, Yvonne had previously delivered a stillborn baby and wasn’t sure if she could have a healthy baby. She registered for our Mobile Midwife service and received weekly voice messages reminding her of her clinic appointments and what foods to eat. Today she has a healthy baby boy.

YOU, Take the pledge!

I believe that the poorest citizens of our world can reach their full potential if given access to the right information and resources.

I pledge to help empower poor women like Maria, Caroline and Yvonne. I support the work Grameen Foundation is doing to help these women lift themselves and their families out of poverty.

Recent signatures


    1. Reached 15,000 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Martha W Bushnell BOULDER, CO
      • 8 months ago

      I want all people to make a living with enough food, shelter, and clothing for the whole family.

    • Ben Brod AUSTRALIA
      • 8 months ago

      Grameen Foundation changes lives for the better, creating opportunity for all.

      • 8 months ago


    • Anita Kanitz STUTTGART, GERMANY
      • about 1 year ago

      For centuries, gender, race, ethnicity, and age, have contributed to the social stratification of persons in society, and more specifically, for the means of this essay, women in society. In the United States for example, gender and age greatly contribute to whether or not one will be subject to a life of poverty. In Cultural Anthropology: A Problem Based Approach, Robbins discusses the book Women and Children Last by Ruth Sidel in which Sidel draws a comparison between the Titanic and American society in the 1980's. "Both were gleaming symbols of wealth that placed women and children at a disadvantage" (Robbins, 239). When the Titanic went down that night, the women and children traveling first and second-class were the first to be saved, but the women and children in third-class and steerage were either the last ones to be saved or rather not saved at all, so much so that 45 percent of the women and 70 percent of the children in steerage died. Sidel claims that the same way certain women and children on board the Titanic were the last to be saved, in the United States as well, certain women and children are not the first to be saved, but rather the first ones to fall into poverty.

      Race and ethnicity as well have contributed to the social stratification of different groups in society. For a long time, to be part of a certain racial or ethnic group essentially decided ones place in the social hierarchy. Most people had little trouble convincing themselves that race and ethnicity play a key factor in the justification of racial stratification, especially when the state and religious authorities reinforced this idea. To additionally reinforce racial superiority, scientist Samuel George Morton conducted an experiment in which he falsely claimed to prove that whites were not only socially superior, but biologically superior to blacks and American Indians. While it was later discovered by Harvard biologist Edward Jay Gould that Morton's measurements were in fact erroneous, Morton's conclusions continued to support the beliefs that the social status of persons in society could be biologically based well into the twentieth century.

      The same way in which whites were looked at as biologically superior to blacks and American Indians applies to women as well in relation to men. Women were, and sometimes still are, looked at as biologically inferior to men and not just socially constructed as such. "Many people believed that women's bodies defined both their social position and their function, which was to reproduce, as men's bodies dictated that they manage, control, and defend" (Robbins, 253).

      In Alisse Waterston's book, Love, Sorrow, and Rage: Destitute Women in a Manhattan Residence, she discusses the paths that lead a number of women to come to live in Woodhouse, "a supervised community residence that provides formerly homeless, mentally ill women with living quarters, meals, security, structured activities and support services" (Waterston, 26). Many of these women were married, had normal jobs, and lead normal lives until certain unfortunate events changed the course of their existence. Moving around from shelter to shelter with the uncertainty of where their next meal or shower would come from, as well as the traumatic events such as death, rape, and verbal/physical abuse that these women witnessed or experienced, brought about mental illness in many of the inhabitants of Woodhouse.

      The facts presented here to seem to agree with Ruth Sidel's argument that certain women will be the first to fall to poverty. The women of Woodhouse, for a large part, were members of the lower class and their chances of success were much less than that of middle to upper class (married) women. Leading a life of poverty is not solely incumbent upon race and ethnicity but certain events in one's life as well can lead one down similar paths.

      The low-caste Bombay women as discussed by Sara S. Mitter in "The Shadow Economy: Cleaners in Bombay", seem to fit a similar mold as the women in Woodhouse. Although the lower class women in Bombay do have work and are not living on the streets like the women in Woodhouse were once subject to, the similarity between them is the way in which both of these groups of women were exploited and unable to find decent work and barely able to, if not at all, make a living and survive. The women in Bombay work for the upper class urban dwellers as maids and can clean up to five apartments in one day for a measly salary. Not only is this salary supposed to support their families, but whatever salary the husbands do make is kept for themselves. These women, because of their class, have no opportunity to move up in the ranks of the social hierarchy.

      According to many anthropologists, the male holds authority over females in every society. Among the Yanomamo Indians of Venezuela, "women must respond quickly to the demands of their husbands" (Friedl, 262). Upon returning from a hunting trip, women are expected to prepare a meal for their husbands, and if they are slow in doing so, the husbands have every right to beat them. It seems from this, that Yanomamo men are looked at as superior to their women, and that the role of women is confined to pleasing the men. It almost seems from this that women aren't only subservient to men, but property of them.

      As we saw in Robbins, the belief that women are biologically inferior to men may have an impact on people all over the world. The Yanomamo sure seem to agree that women are inferior, maybe not biologically inferior-but inferior nonetheless, to men. This belief or idea of female inferiority holds women prisoner in this subservient social class that they are subject to due to their sex.

      There are many possible factors that contribute to the condition of homeless women. Whether it is sexism, the idea that men are superior to women, or racism that contributes to their condition as homeless women doesn't really matter. The important thing to note is that gender has always played a large part in social stratification, and women, especially those of a minority race or ethnicity, seem to be at the bottom of this social hierarchy.


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