“Empowering women powers nations,” declared Robert Zoellick of the World Bank recently. "The more disempowered are the women, the poorer they are……Imagine if a city of almost four million people disappeared every year. A Los Angeles, Johannesburg, Yokohama. It would be hard to miss.

'Yet it goes largely unnoticed that almost four million girls and women “go missing” each year in developing countries when compared to their female counterparts in developed countries. About two-fifths are never born; a sixth die in early childhood, and more than a third die in their reproductive years. High mortality rates are just one of many barriers to equality between men and women," said Robert Zoellick.

Equality is not just the right thing to do. It’s smart economics!

Source: http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/NEWS/0,,contentMDK:23004424~pag...

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Dear Monica, When an institution like world banks says gender equality is smart economics, we need to be wary. There are so many questions that comes to mind. Will world bank drive gender equality with its market based mechanism which has not worked for women? will loans backed by conditionalities be given to countries to invest into gender equality? We need to be clear about this issue before we join the bandwagon of gender equality as smart economics.

The tendency by world institutions to run after a bus that is already in motion sometimes gets to me. It seems they want to focus on things where wheels are already in motion. Women's movements have been pushing for economic empowerment and equality but where was the IMF or World Bank all these years. Now governments have been pushed to take action or lose a strong electorate base the world financial institutions want to get credit for things that governments have put in motion themselves, take over and then mess everything up by throwing nations into debt. I do not trust international monetary institutions and their motives in Africa, especially. But we wait to see if they say what they mean.

Thanks Titilope for saying this. I for one know nothing about economics - just passing on the info, hoping that others with insight and knowledge will respond, as you did. Won't it be great if a change of heart by the banks could see investments which will force a level playing field for all women, in all countries.

On another note, you probably know that Wangari Maathai, the Kenyan environmentalist and activist Nobel winner died this week? She is reputed to have been responsible for the planting of about 45 million trees in Kenya!

See BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-15228649

Lots of loving from Monica in France

Monica Clarke, Writer & Storyteller, bringing human rights alive. I wish you 'Nangamso', that is: May you continue to do the good work which you do so well. (A blessing from my ancestors, the Khoikhoi, the first people of South Africa).