The wellbeing of children is inextricably linked to the lives of women in more ways than one. If women are not healthy, are not empowered or are not educated, it is the children that are the ones who suffer. ‘The State of the World’s Children’ – UNICEF’s flagship annual report on children’s welfare – has through the years since the mid-1990’s reported on the negative effects that gender inequality has on the wellbeing of children.

In many parts of the world, particularly in underdeveloped and developing nations, women and children – especially girls – are still being denied equal opportunities within their societies due to local culture and traditions. Throughout the world, the lives of millions of women and girls are still plagued by discrimination, disempowerment, and poverty, despite the international community’s commitment to improve gender equality. Even in more affluent and developed nations, women and children are still exposed to economic disempowerment and poverty. In towns and cities where teen pregnancies and single mothers are becoming increasingly common, women and girls, apart from being disadvantaged, are also vulnerable to abuse, crime and violence.

Well accepted amongst social development advocates is the unspoken truth embodied in the quote: ‘When you empower a man you empower an individual, but when you empower a woman you empower an entire community (or nation)’. Many willingly subscribe to the fact that women are the ones who are likely to contribute more to their children’s development once they are empowered with knowledge, skills and financial independence. Nowhere is this more apparent than in societies where there is widespread gender inequality towards women and girls.

Our views on empowering women with education, knowledge and skills, resonate perfectly with our views on helping women attain economic empowerment. When disadvantaged women are empowered, the children under their care will almost certainly benefit from that empowerment as well. In time, these children will be able to attain the proper education and skills that will in turn, empower them to break free from the circumstances that kept them impoverished.