I was at the Christian Resources Exhibition yesterday attending the first day of Empowering Women conference hosted by Woman Alive and BRF. The main speaker of the morning was Margaret Sentamu (wife of the Bishop of York) who spoke about the Millennium Development Goals and how while good things are being done it is unlikely that the targets will be reached by 2015. These goals are:
1. To eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
2. Achieve universal primary education
3. Promote gender equality and empower women
4. Reduce child mortality rates
5. Improve maternal health
6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
7. Ensure environmental stability
8. Develop a global partnership for development
Margaret talked about the strength of women, strong women of the Bible, Deborah, Lydia, even Jezebel (a strong women who went wrong) and strong political women (whether we like them or not) such as Indira Gandhi, Margaret Thatcher, and how when you educate a women you educate a village. Still today many women are not educated, they are not thought worth it, yet when they are educated they start businesses, run micro-finance schemes and the family and village benefit (the women even employ their husbands!) Education is the key to all. With education it is possible to read and write and understand money so the women can’t get ripped off in the markets and they can help themselves and their families out of poverty.
The UN works with several charities including Traidcraft and Five Talents. Both these charities I know about as I’ve bought Traidcraft goods and Five Talents works with Mothers’ Union of which I’m a member. They do such good work.
Sometimes it is difficult to think that what ever we give or whatever we do will make a different when you constantly see the war, poverty and hunger on our TV screens so much, but Margaret urged all to continue to support because it does make a difference. Her talk was inspiring and showed that when women come together we do great things. Here! Here!