Education International
Education International

Promoting quality public services to fight women's poverty

published 22 October 2010 updated 22 October 2010

This year’s theme of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, “From Poverty to Decent Work: bridging the gap”, is highly relevant to EI’s First World Women’s Conference.

The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty on 17 October promoted awareness about the need to eradicate poverty and exclusion, especially among women and girls.

“We need to think about the millions of people, particularly women and girls, who are victims of war, repression, violence and poverty. We need to consider the millions of child labourers, the majority of whom are girls, who have no chance in life,” said Susan Hopgood, EI President.

Women are still more likely than men to be poor and at risk of hunger because of the systematic discrimination they face in access to education, healthcare and control of assets. Across all countries, the female population is poorer than the male population. Globally, women perform 66% of the world’s work, produce 50% of the food, but earn only 10% of the income and own 1% of the property.

Advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment will be a central theme at EI’s First World Women’s Conference – “On the Move for Equality” – to take place on 20-23 January 2011 in Bangkok.

“High quality public education for all is one of the most effective tools for empowering women, and women’s empowerment is the driver of efforts to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal primary education, and reduce child and maternal mortality,” said Jan Eastman, EI Deputy General Secretary.

Education of women and girls is therefore at the heart of achieving the Millennium Development Goals – starting with measures such as providing free school meals.

In the face of widespread cuts to the education sector and public services, the next generation will have to pay the price for unwise economic decisions – and the main burden will rest on women’s shoulders.

“EI stands behind each education worker in their commitment to education as a basic human right which should not be jeopardized for short-sighted financial quick-fixes,” said Eastman.

Last week, leaders of Global Unions, private and public, as well as municipal governments and civil society groups met in Geneva. They made the unprecedented joint commitment to work together to promote investment in quality public services backed by fair taxation policies. The charter, unanimously adopted at the conference “Quality Public Services – Action Now!”, will see concerted action to build quality public services taken by all stakeholders.

Go to the EI World Women's Conference webpage to find out more about the programme and register for the event.