“Women and girls are not the problem,” Kristof said. “They are the solution.”

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof tells a story about an African girl who, because of donations through Heifer International, was the first of her village to study abroad and graduate from the Connecticut College. (Photo by Max Reed, Alligator Staff)
Nicholas Kristof, a renowned columnist for the New York Times and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, recently spoke to a group of people at the event, “Women: Holding Up Half the Sky,” hosted by the Bob Graham Center for Public Service in Florida.
Throughout his presentation, Kristof spoke about the fact that women still face oppression in the 21st century with gender discrimination and violence. The best way to fight poverty and extremism is to educate and empower women and girls, Kristof explained.
International Women’s Day 2011 is March 8 and will be celebrated with scheduled events globally. Heifer has projects specifically focused on women in a number of countries, including India, Nepal and Laos.
Photos by Geoff Oliver Bugbee
CEO Pierre Ferrari and Heifer staff recently traveled to Nepal where they saw first hand how families, communities and villages can dramatically change when women are given opportunities to make decisions, run businesses and take charge of their circumstances.
Villages like Khayarmara in Nepal are seeing dramatic change. Life was once much harder for women who spent four hours or more to get water. Now they have water pipes and organic vegetable gardens.
Pierre and the team also visited a 3-year-old buffalo and goat project in Pooja Swavalambhi where women are determined to bring their community out of poverty.
Video by Geoff Oliver Bugbee
"When we were gathered with the whole community, the women of the Pooja women's group started talking and describing their experience of the change in their lives, which is pretty radical," Ferrari said. "It suddenly all came together and was a very powerful experience."
In December 2010, Madeleine Albright, first women Secretary of State for the United States, spoke at a TEDWomen’s conference where she said, “Women’s issues are the hardest issues.” She went on to speak about how it’s important for women to have a voice in political affairs and to become business leaders in their communities, making it much more likely they'll be treated as equals.
“I believe that societies are better off when women are politically and economically empowered, that values are passed down, the health situation is better, education is better, there is a greater economic prosperity.”
This spring, in celebration of Women’s History Month, our 2011 Pass on the Gift campaign is going WiLD (Women in Lifestock Development). You can help Heifer transform the lives of struggling women around the world. Read more here: www.heifer.org/pog.
To celebrate a Women’s International Day in your area, please visit http://www.internationalwomensday.com. To learn more about how Heifer is working with women please visit www.heifer.org.


Maegan Clark

Maegan Clark loves social media even more than Southern sweet tea. She is currently pursuing her master’s in public administration and has a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a specialized study in public relations. Since working at Heifer, she has deepened her appreciation for the urgency with which we must end global hunger and poverty.