Ritu Sharma speaks worldwide about the problem of women living in poverty in developing countries. She co-founded Women Thrive Worldwide in 1998, as a means to find solutions for the issue, and is the current President. She began this organization after leaving Punjab, India with her family to immigrate to the US, leaving behind poverty.
During her public speeches, Ritu Sharma uses personal stories, compelling discoveries and unique viewpoints to bring light to women facing devastating circumstances. Here are inspirational lessons we can learn from her, based on speeches she has given:
Women hold the world together
In Ritu Sharma’s acceptance speech for a 2013 NCCWSL Women of Distinction award, she explains that there are women working for less than one dollar a day and are working throughout the day to feed their many children. She explains in the video clip below “they are holding it together; they are raising their 13 kids.” In other words, don’t forget that it’s these women in poverty who are working all day to feed and care for their families that help keep our world together with their determination and drive.
Women want the focus to be on men too
At The World Food Prize Borlaug Dialogue, Ritu Sharma spoke about women’s perspectives as the sole woman on the panel. She explained that when she meets women in villages and farms around the world that they tell her they do not just want the focus of interventions to be solely on their own struggles. Instead, they often point out (Sharma explains) that their husbands are also struggling to grow crops, are frustrated or are unemployed. She explains that focusing solely on women actually does harm to these females rather than helping them.
To quote her in the video clip below, “in our zeal to help women and climb on this women’s empowerment train, we can forget that we need to take a very holistic approach and that needs to in fact include everybody.”
Societies that thrive are ones that value women
Ritu Sharma has spoken a lot about the value of women in society. In the short video below, she discusses how a society that values women within it is more likely to be a society that thrives. To quote her from the video, “societies that really value women and their participation are the least violent, the most democratic, the most economically prosperous and the least likely to go to war.”
From this quote, it is apparent that 1) women are vital in any society, and 2) respecting women must be incorporated into solutions to resolve issues such as poverty and violence if they are to be effective.
What other lessons do you take away from these videos of women’s activist Ritu Sharma?
©2014 Christy Birmingham