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Literacy for Social Change

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more literate society!

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Invest in Women

"Everyone has a destiny. But it requires hard work, dedication, commitment, honesty, and readiness to reach it.”

Mama Tohr

— Mama Tohr, adult learner and Monrovian businesswoman

Read Mama’s story

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Empowering Women to Understand Their Rights and Change Their Lives

Worldwide, women, more often than men, live in poverty, suffer from disease, and deal with daily discrimination in their homes and in their communities. This often is due to cultural traditions and local laws that give men access to education, property, jobs, health care, and government participation that is denied to women.

Women in Literacy

Our Women in Literacy initiative gives women the reading, writing, and math skills they need to understand their rights and change their daily lives. Research shows that when women take these steps, the changes they make in their own lives extend into their families and communities with positive effects. For example:

  • When low-income women increase their income, they use their new earnings to improve the education, health, and nutrition of their families. [1]
  • As women become better readers and writers, they marry later and are more likely to use family planning, causing fertility rates to decline. [2]
  • Attending school for even a few years helps women become better agricultural workers who generate more income [3] and take better care of their families.

Through the Women in Literacy: Critical Issues in Literacy series, we explores the health, human rights, and poverty challenges women face daily. The series shows how women's literacy initiatives help women gain new attitudes and skills, and the information they need to change their conditions.

1 Chiefs of State and Cabinet Members of Foreign Governments, CIA Directorate of Intelligence, July 2002.

2 Educating People: improving chances, expanding choices, 1995, UNESCO and UNICEF.

3 Adult Education in a Polarizing World, Education for All, UNESCO, 1997.

Explore other
| New Readers Press International Programs Ruth J. Colvin Center ProLiteracy Education Network