I'm not a numbers person, but I keep on my desk a list of percentages that shakes me every time I read it. Did you know that
? Seventy percent of the world's extremely poor are women?
? Almost 80 percent of all refugees are women and their kids?
? Every year, as many as 4 million women and children are sold for the sex trade or to work as slaves?
And consider this all-too-common scenario in the developing world. An unfaithful husband infects his wife with HIV. He leaves, and the young mother becomes sick with AIDS. While her sons continue going to school, her daughters stay home to care for the family. When the mother dies, her property is taken over by male relatives, and her children are taken in by some woman - often a grandmother so poor she can't provide necessities for her grandkids. Many such orphaned girls, uneducated and desperate, become prey for sugar daddies who promise food or education in exchange for sex. Many of these girls become infected with HIV, and the cycle continues. This helps explain another sad statistic: that worldwide, 60 percent of those infected with HIV are women.
I have been shocked to discover how many of the world's injustices disproportionately impact women and girls. Is there anything we can do about this? Is there any hope?
Let me answer with a true story. Barb, a young mother in my church, receives a letter from an organization caring for AIDS orphans in Zambia. She reads the letter to her grade-school son and daughter, and the kids decide they want to raise money for the orphans. Barb comes up with the idea of having a used toy sale, and she helps her kids organize it. All the children in the neighborhood drop off their gently used toys in Barb's garage and help put up signs throughout ...1
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