According to Sheryl WuDunn in her book Half the Sky, there are an estimated 107 million missing girls and women in the world. 107 million women who should be present and identifiable in the population but are not. 107 million babies who were killed in the womb or abandoned after birth, 107 million children who were married off way to young, 107 million adults who were trafficked or murdered.
I’m a follower of Jesus Christ. I believe that every person is created by God with value and that that is very clear in the Bible.
Genesis 1:27 says “God created man (meaning mankind) in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”
And in Psalm 139:13-14 King David of Israel says “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are Your works and that my soul knows very well.”
From the story of Hagar, to Esther and Ruth, to Mary, and the woman at the well, and Mary Magdalene God shows how He loves women and that He values them enough to use them in His plan of redemption for the world. Despite that for all of history women have been marginalized, abused, treated as property, and told that they were less valuable, capable, and intelligent than men.
That is why I love the work that Mercy House is doing in Kenya. They are providing a safe home, medical care, counseling, and education to young mothers in dangerous situations and loving on their babies.
That’s why when Elizabeth, the young woman I sponsor through Compassion wrote me a letter and told me that she had graduated from secondary school and would be attending college soon, I almost cried. I was more excited for her than I was when I graduated. (Also, we’re both business majors and I’m super excited about that too)
Women are priceless and when they are empowered to reach their potential they have the ability to transform the world.
At this point you might be asking yourself “what can I do?” and I strongly encourage you to find a way to lift up the women in your life and community. That might mean encouraging a high school girl in your church and letting her know you see her hard work and potential, saying thank you to your mom or another woman in your life. It could also mean donating a few hours of your time volunteering at your local women’s shelter or pregnancy crisis center.
Want to take it a step further? Sponsor a girl or woman in poverty. I love Compassion International because they work through the local church and empower people to care for children in their own communities. I also love that you are able to write letters and build a relationship with the child you sponsor. Other organizations that offer sponsorship are Indigenous Ministries, who work with refugees in Iraq and Mercy House who offer the opportunity to sponsor a woman in their transition home in Kenya.
Another option? Buy fairtrade products. Women in poverty don’t want a handout, they want a job. When you buy a product that was made by a woman rising out of poverty the empowerment you are supporting is incredible. This rug and these bracelets are made by the Grandmas of the Mercy House babies, enabling all of them to move out of the slum into clean, safe homes, send their other kids to school, and even in some cases bring kids home from indentured servitude.