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Empower women to reduce poverty

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When it comes to the campaign to reduce extreme poverty around the world, there is both good and bad news to report.

According to the World Bank, significant progress has been made in recent decades to rescue people from crushing poverty.

“In 2015, more than a billion fewer people were living in extreme poverty than in 1990,” states a World Bank Group report entitled Poverty and Shared Prosperity 2018: Piecing together the poverty puzzle. Much of the progress has been powered by global economic growth and increasing wealth in many developing nations, especially in East Asia, the Pacific and South Asia.

“This impressive progress has brought us closer to achieving the World Bank’s target of reducing extreme poverty to less than three per cent of the world’s population by 2030,” the report declares. “Half of all countries included in the global poverty counts already have less than three per cent of their populations living under the international poverty line [IPL], which defines extreme poverty for global monitoring.”

In 1990, approximately 36 per cent of the world’s total population endured extreme poverty. Extreme poverty, the report notes, is “defined by the IPL as consumption [or income] less than US $1.90 a day in 2011 purchasing power parity.” Flash forward to 2015 and the percentage of the world’s population living in extreme poverty had dropped to 10 per cent.

“The number of people living in extreme poverty stood at 736 million in 2015, down from nearly two billion in 1990,” the World Bank reports.

However, the poverty puzzle is far from being solved. In many developing countries, women lack economic empowerment and tend to be poorer than men. For example, when wider consumption patterns, including food and other goods, were taken into consideration, the World Bank found that in Malawi, “women have a significantly higher poverty rate [73 per cent] than men [49 per cent].”

Last week, U.S. President Donald Trump signed a memorandum establishing the Women’s Global Development and........

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