Why We Invest In Women
When Adelante started in 2000, the first loan was disbursed to a group of five individuals comprising of four women and one man. Our first credit officer, Kiko, insisted that a man join the group to help the women pay back the loans. However, by the second week, the women kicked the man out for failure to pay, triumphantly taking back the scale that he had purchased with the loan. Though we had little idea of what we were doing back then, the women paid back, and we began to expand our reach to even more impoverished women throughout the nation.
There are countless reasons to invest in women. We invest in women because studies continue to prove women in developing countries such as Honduras can provide economic benefits, are more likely to invest their earnings into their family, and have better repayment rates.
On a macro level, training and empowering women to start a business and work for themselves unlocks a significant labor force for the entire country. For example, according to USAID, women make up 43% of the agricultural labor force. However, women are less likely to own land, and own fewer amounts of land when they do. When women have the same amount of land as men, there is over 10% increase in crop yields.
On the smaller scale, investing in women stems far beyond a single individual and the benefits are seen in her family, children, and her community. The average grade completed by our clients is 6th grade. Usually the severely limited resources and economic situation of many families force their children to work at a young age instead of receiving a quality education. With an opportunity to start a business and increase earnings, women are more able to send their children to school. Studies show when 10% more girls to school a country’s GDP increases by an average of 3%.
Rosa Santos, 28, shares her Adelante experience and why investing in women matters.
Rosa says, “When I was looking for work, I couldn’t find any opportunities. Then Adelante came and helped me start my business as an Avon consultant and retailer. It’s been tremendously helpful because through Adelante, I was able to build a house for myself and my family from the ground up, and that’s something I’m so grateful for.”
When asked why she thinks investing in women is important she responds, “It’s important for women like me to have options for work. Many of us generally stay in the house unemployed so having opportunities to earn money gives us something to do and helps better our lives.”
Rosa has been very successful as a beauty brand retailer selling lotions, hand creams, body wash, make-up products. and has been rewarded as a saleswoman on multiple occasions. Her husband and two children, Jessica and Santiago, are thankful for her hard work and better living conditions and education opportunities that come with it. “Santiago is three years old and just entering kindergarten, Jessica is in the 3rd grade right now but she is very adamant on becoming a doctor. When the time comes, I will try for an education loan to help her reach her dreams” Rosa says. Until then, Rosa is content with her family and her many pets and will keep fighting to provide for her growing family.
We are so proud of Rosa and the many accomplishments the women of Adelante are achieving to move themselves forward. Because when a woman is empowered, incredible things happen, and it’s time we invest in our women.