Conscious Financial Living

Social Injustice In Business

All over the world inequality is apparent, especially in business. 

Gender Inequality in Business: Fighting For Each Other, Globally

 Gender inequality in business can be noticed on a global scale

Gender inequality in business can be noticed on a global scale

{This article was featured on www.empoweringwomennow.com on September 20, 2016} 

When I was twenty, I took a semester off to travel to rural Southern Madagascar to intern for a non-profit organization. At the time, I figured it would be a great way to boast my lacking resume and it gave me a needed semester to “figure life out.” One of the aspects of the internship was that I was supposed to raise a certain amount of money before the internship started. This money was to go to raising awareness on public health matters and inequality. As a college junior, I was going around a small country town trying to raise money for a cause that was a world away. It was hard to communicate the importance of raising money to help people on the other side of the globe when the neighborhood had so many of its own struggling with unemployment and bills. Yet, a summer of perseverance paid off, and I was off to Africa.

Taking those first steps off the airplane, it wasn’t the heat that hit me, it was the cultural shock. I was mentally prepared to be in a severely impoverished country, but I wasn’t prepared for the gender inequality that became blatantly apparent.

For the first few days I was in Madagascar, I was encouraged to explore. The area was beautiful, mountains and white sand beaches galore. One of those afternoons, I decided to head to the beach. I was excited, yet that excitement ended as soon as I took my cover-up off and stepped into the clear, azure water. I have never been more insecure in a swimsuit in my life. Everyone was gawking at me. I started looking around thinking, “What is the issue? What am I doing wrong? There are other people swimming.” And then it dawned on me; 

there were boys swimming. There were men swimming. There absolutely were no women swimming. From that moment on, the gender injustice stuck out like a thumb.

A Malagasy husband is the one that is in control of the money, and bigger life choices. Yet, Malagasy woman typically outlive their husbands. If a child is born before the husband dies, the wife will get half of the husband’s property, and the husband’s family gets the other half. However, if the couple did not have a child, the husband’s family typically gets all of the property.  In a country that is filled with malnutrition, malaria and HIV/AIDS, many women are at constant risk of having no property or income potential.

 One of the things that the money I raised went to was providing widowed women an income. The great thing is the money was not directly given to the women. The money was used to purchase chickens, from other women. Chickens are a great type of income stream for the Malagasy people. Hens provide eggs. These eggs can be hatched, eaten or sold. When the hen gets to the age that she is no longer producing eggs, she is “sacrificed” for meat. One chicken gives a woman the ability to run, and grow her own business. Women, who before saw themselves as having no options, were now empowered.

After returning home, I began to follow the news of other organizations looking to empower woman for financial, and physical, freedom. The Bharatiya Mahila Bank in India makes it so women can take out business loans. One Girl, an organization in Sierra Leone, trains female leaders to sell sanitary pads to girls, so that the girls can stay in school during the week of their menstrual cycle.  In Pakistan, Humanity Healing International and Hope Development Organization have recently selected 500 local women to undergo formal trainings to educate the nation on the severity and implications of honor killings (women being killed because they were see as a disgrace to their families). There are countless organizations that are fighting for women to have social rights. Living in the USA, these issues may seem distant, yet it wasn’t that long ago American women were fighting for their own rights. We still are today-wage inequality, maternity leave etc. Women around the globe need to fight for each other, because together we are a loud voice that can empower each other and encourage change.