Graphics: Why investing in girls and women is key to development

What exactly leads to development is a topic of great debate in academic and practical circles. Proposed cures for underdevelopment vary from providing infrastructure to enacting large-scale macro-economic reforms. Yet, often, there is little conclusive evidence of many solutions’ consistently marked effects on different countries’ economic prosperity or social and environmental cohesion. One factor that does stand out, which is frequently promoted in reports by the likes of the World Bank, United Nations (UN), the OECD, ActionaAid and even Forbes Magazine as the key to achieving all Millennium Development Goals, is investment in the health, education and equality of women.

If you are still in the dark as to why, check out this United States Agency for International Development (USAID) graphic entitled Why Invest in Women.

Despite the widespread recognition of the power that empowering women has and can have on development, women in developing countries face mountains of obstacles to social justice and equality. The 2012 World Bank World Development Report: Gender Equality and Development report documents how despite progress in some indicators, more women die at younger ages than men, girls are not being enrolled in schools and women face high employment and wage discrimination based entirely on their gender. Taking Guatemala as an example, provides a sorry story for a typical girl like Consuela, as demonstrated in this next Development Roast infographic, from our July 2011 post entitled Against All Odds: An Education Fairy Tale from Guatemala:

Male/female inequality is not just a problem in developing countries, more advanced nations are hardly beacons of fairness and justice themselves. Just last week, Mother Jones released an article, CHARTS: Newspapers Don’t Care When Notable Women Die, scolding the American press for their male bias. More poignantly, the following infographic from Learn Stuff entitled Equal Education, Equal Pay: Closing the Gender Wage Gap gives the United States plenty to be thinking about when it comes to its gender equality.

Perhaps if advanced nations got their houses in order and in gender equality, developing countries would be more likely to follow suit.

Do you know of any other infographics that make a convincing case for development solutions? Leave a reply below.




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