By Christopher Burley
Women and children make up the majority of people in the world who live on less than $1 a day.
Women are often responsible for providing for the family and keeping them healthy. Tragically, they often eat last and eat least.
But if given the chance to realize their full potential, women and girls have the power to lift entire countries out of poverty.
Far too often, global decisions about poverty and developing countries are made without accounting for the needs of women and girls.
Today, more girls around the world are enrolled in school than ever before. But gender-based violence, a lack of sanitation, gender norms that discourage participation in school -- such as the belief that girls should stay at home to perform household chores like fetching water, cooking, and cleaning -- and other barriers still prevent too many girls from getting the quality education they deserve.
Without the opportunity to learn skills like reading and writing, it is nearly impossible to escape the cycle of poverty.
So what's the solution?
Women Thrive Worldwide believes that the solution lies in raising women's voices. Our staff works every day to ensure that the United States is investing in women and girls around the world and listening to what they have to say when it comes to making decisions on the global level.
We work with grassroots women's organizations from Afghanistan to the Philippines to Zambia and dozens of countries in between.
Women Thrive Worldwide believes that real change happens when women and girls are at the table and able to talk about what's most important to them -- issues such as freedom from violence, access to a quality education, and economic opportunity to lift their families out of poverty.
No woman or girl should have to fear a sexual or physical attack when she walks down the street. No potential student who is female should be barred from attending school. And no female farmer should be denied the right to own the land she farms, have a say in her community's laws, or the ability to feed and provide for her family.
Women Thrive Worldwide's goal is to help bring the voices of women and girls around the world into discussions about the policies that impact their lives.
Only then can their needs, priorities, and concerns be meaningfully addressed and effective solutions adopted to reduce poverty at the local level.
Find out more about Women Thrive Worldwide and our work by checking out our website, www.womenthrive.org.