Despite much progress, women and girls are still the most disadvantaged group in the world. Consider these facts:
- Of the one billion people living in absolute poverty around the world, 60% are women and girls.
- Women contribute 2/3 of the world’s working hours, yet earn only 10% of the income.
- Of 31 million school-age girls in the world, less than half will obtain a formal education.
- There are 31 million girls of primary school age not in school. Of these, 17 million are expected never to enter school.
- One in three girls will experience some form of violence in their lifetime.
- Around the world, 120 million girls under 20 have experienced forced sexual intercourse or some other form of sexual violence.
- Every year 800,000 people are trafficked across national borders. 80% of the victims are women. 50% of the victims are minors.
- One in seven girls in the developing world will be married before her 15th birthday.
- Every minute of every day a pregnant woman dies from mostly preventable causes.
- Women earn 79 cents to every dollar earned by a man.
There is no community in the world that is untouched by these issues. Empower Peace, a non-profit created by The Rendon Group (TRG), was established on the principle that education builds the foundation needed to challenge harmful traditional practices, protect human rights and elevate the status of women worldwide.
While the statistics above are shocking, so too are the results when women and girls are able to participate fully in society. Women involved in the political, social, and economic life of their countries and communities are better positioned to increase attention for women’s rights. Simply providing women and girls with education can lead to healthier families and children, less poverty, and stronger national economies. Education also equips women with the knowledge and skills needed to realize their potential and protect themselves from harm.
Empower Peace, under the guidance of TRG leadership, created the Women2Women International Leadership Program (W2W) to provide youth leaders around the world with the tools needed to advance mutual respect, understanding, and cultural awareness. Specifically, W2W was developed to provide rising female leaders, ages 15-19, with the skills needed to succeed in our global community. W2W builds a network of promising young women from around the globe, engages them in the issues that define their lives, and provides them with the tools, relationships, and opportunities required to lead.
The W2W International Leadership Program has taken place in Boston, MA for the last 14 years. During that time, we have developed a network of alumnae that have exceeded our expectations. Since 2006, over 1600 young women from 80 countries have participated in the program. Many of these leaders have, through the implementation of their W2W Action Plans, made a significant difference in their communities. Over the years, W2W action plans have covered a wide variety of social issues ranging from addressing sexual harassment, to promoting entrepreneurial spirit, to combating forced marriage to promoting women’s health. The leaders have conducted conferences, and classroom presentations, produced videos and brochures, conducted social media campaigns and even formed their own local branch of Women2Women.