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Susan M. Blaustein
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Dr. Susan M. Blaustein is Founder/Executive Director of WomenStrong International, a global consortium of nongovernmental organizations focused on empowering women and girls in impoverished urban settings, & Co-Founder/Director of Columbia University’s Millennium Cities Initiative, a decade-long effort to help selected sub-Saharan cities attain the Millennium Development Goals.

Entries by Susan M. Blaustein

An Ingenious Tool for Empowering Women and Girls: Social Capital Credits

(0) Comments | Posted April 28, 2016 | 11:39 AM

Everyone thinking about sustainable development understands by now that women's economic empowerment is key to global progress, with heightened incomes spent directly on improving family health, nutrition and education that can pave the way to better jobs and integration into the formal economy.

The question, though, is how to...

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Increasing Women's Financial Freedom Spurs Economic Empowerment Community-Wide

(0) Comments | Posted March 7, 2016 | 12:46 PM

Beyond ensuring their decent health, safe shelter and education, women's economic empowerment is the proven key to victory over extreme urban poverty. With financial independence and mobility, mothers can provide healthy meals for their children, pay for inoculations and school fees and upgrade their dwellings and businesses. At

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Women's Empowerment Begins With Assuring Our Girls' Right to Eat

(0) Comments | Posted February 1, 2016 | 5:09 PM

In many parts of India, girls in poor families are the last to eat.

First, the logic goes, comes the wage-earner; then the future wage-earner (the son); then their providers (the mother) and finally, the useless little girl, whose very birth, particularly in some northern agrarian provinces, is not likely...

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From Hate to Hope: A Roadmap for 2016

(0) Comments | Posted January 5, 2016 | 2:55 PM

The year closed in an epidemic of fear and displacement. Fear of terror, of violence, of speaking up, of being gunned down -- in church, in the street, in a park, at an office party, in one's own home. Displacement, due to barrel bombs and cluster bombs, terrorist thuggery and...

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Debate Gut Check: Which Presidential Wanna Be will Stand Up for Girls?

(3) Comments | Posted October 14, 2015 | 8:20 AM

Even amid the hyperbole of a presidential debate, it was clear Tuesday night that every Democratic hopeful on the Las Vegas stage understands the importance of nurturing, educating and protecting girls. There was zero debate around cutting back health care for middle-class, poor or immigrant children, or about the virtues...

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Steps Forward in Haiti, Steps Backward at Home

(0) Comments | Posted June 30, 2015 | 12:45 PM


Things got off to a slower-than-usual start one hot morning in June, at the Alyans Sante Borgne (ASB) Women's Health mobile clinic in Tibouk, a tiny riverside market town in northernmost Haiti. After a night of heavy rains, many of the women, some...

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First Step to Prevent Sexual Abuse: Redefine "Safety" to Include Women and Girls

(1) Comments | Posted June 1, 2015 | 1:09 AM


During a recent meeting of a women's savings group in Manyatta, the largest slum in Kenya's third largest city, Kisumu, after the week's business had been conducted, the conversation turned to the women's daughters, all of whom, they said, were at risk of...

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Safety for Women and Girls: Protection Strategies for a Healthful World

(1) Comments | Posted March 4, 2015 | 10:26 PM

This International Women's Day, as we step back to marvel at the significant progress made by women and girls worldwide, we take note as well of the distance yet to travel before every woman and girl feels safe in this world -- safe enough simply to go to school, to...

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Making Every Day the Day of the African Child

(0) Comments | Posted June 17, 2014 | 10:33 AM

As we celebrate the Day of the African Child this week, we hold in our hearts the
brave Nigerian schoolgirls -- those in captivity, those who have escaped, the thousands whose fearless assertion of their right to an education has put them now at such risk. Our thoughts...

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Reading: The Key to Development and Community Worldwide

(0) Comments | Posted March 6, 2013 | 7:04 AM

In an early celebration last week of World Read Aloud Day in Kisumu, Kenya's third largest city, the Millennium Cities Initiative (MCI) and Kisumu public school teachers made the rounds of a number of primary schools where we now have Girls' LitClubs, thanks to the New York-based, literacy-focused non-profit LitWorld....

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Safe Shelter, Health and Wellbeing in the World's Poorest Cities

(0) Comments | Posted December 10, 2012 | 6:45 AM

This Human Rights Day, let's talk about housing.

We've been paying more attention to housing here in the U.S. lately, given the calamitous impact of Hurricane Sandy on entire New York and New Jersey communities and the countless American families with homes still in foreclosure.

Globally, of course,...

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"Let It Be a Lesson": The Yearning for Learning, as a Force of Nature

(0) Comments | Posted October 11, 2012 | 10:06 AM

"Let it be a lesson," pronounced the Taliban spokesman, confirming the midday shooting by colleagues in Pakistan's Swat Valley of 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai, explicitly because of her passion for education and her courageous campaign for the right of girls to go to school.

Lessons, of course, are all that Malala...

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Mother's Day Challenges for Us All

(1) Comments | Posted May 11, 2012 | 9:20 AM

A mother in Kisumu, Kenya, contacted by her daughter's teacher because the usually bubbly 10-year-old had seemed so flat in school in recent weeks and her performance had slumped dramatically, told the teacher to speak with the girl's father. Since the economic downturn, the mother explained, the girl's father had...

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Healing, Storytelling and Girls' Empowerment: Stand Up for Girls and Let them Speak!

(68) Comments | Posted September 21, 2011 | 11:12 AM

There could be no stronger testament to the healing power of storytelling than the tremendous outpouring of personal narratives that accompanied the 10th anniversary of 9/11: from National Public Radio's wonderful StoryCorps tales, representing every victim with at least one illuminating story, to the moving and supremely dignified testimonies of...

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Fast-Tracking Women's Empowerment: Partnerships and Practical Solutions

(0) Comments | Posted March 8, 2011 | 7:43 AM

We've learned a lot in the first 100 years of celebrating International Women's Day, about women's empowerment and resistance to that empowerment; about leverage and how to fight above one's weight class; and about the benefits and challenges inherent in sister solidarity worldwide. But we've not really appreciated yet the...

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