IDEAS For US sixty-second session statement for the Commission on the Status of Women
Written statement by IDEAS For US for the sixty-second session of the Commission
on the Status of Women
Author: Torre Ippolito
IDEAS For Us in an international non-governmental organization that is aiming to
advance sustainability by helping people, especially the most vulnerable, to create
solutions that increase their quality of life, generate profit, and heal the planet. Our
mission is to develop, fund, and scale solutions to the world’s most pressing
environmental and social challenges. IDEAS For Us has had a presence in over 20
countries. We are focused on projects in the United States, Uganda, Liberia, The
Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Rwanda, Brazil, The Philippines, Nepal,
and China for 2017 and 2018.
In this endeavor, we promote local discussion and action, funding, and data collection
and sharing in working towards a more sustainable future. Over the years, we have
formalized our approach to developing solutions by using a community-based, humancentered
design program called The Hive. The Hive is a program that assembles the
community members to engage in discussions centering on promoting the 17 Sustainable
development goals in the local community. IDEAS also funds projects through a micro
granting program called “The Solutions Fund”. Our members pilot new projects and
repeat successful initiatives in new places. We then take action and collect scientific data
before, during, and after projects in order to inform decision making and advocate for
In working towards all 17 of the Sustainable Development Goals, we at IDEAS For Us
know the importance of Sustainable Development Goal 5, achieving gender equality and
empowering all women and girls. The issues facing rural women and girls deserve and
require specialized attention to their unique experiences. Our applicants to the Solutions
Fund have shed an immense amount of light upon these challenges facing rural women
and girls today.
Women in rural areas often have limited access capital and credit facilities, and also lack
the collateral that is generally required by banks. Rural women also do not have adequate
access to advisory services due to government workers not having the support to keep in
contact with the more remote areas. This leads to a deprivation of information regarding
things such as pest and disease control. These events lead women in rural areas to be
unable to escape the fates of low-income. In Uganda, many of the women are peasant
farmers that are suffering from low agricultural yields because of deteriorating soil
fertility. Environmental issues such as these along with a multitude of others exacerbate
the issues facing rural women.
Lack of sanitary menstruation products is another urgently important issue facing rural
women and girls. In Africa, menstruation is a momentous social stressor that can lead to
infections, as well as cause girls to be absent from school. Girls should not be hindered in
their educational pursuits simply for natural bodily functions. The lack of access to
menstruation products is frequently due to the high prices. The unaffordability leads
women and girls to resort to employing cotton, cloth rags, paper, dried leaves or plastic
bags. Aside from the immediate physical discomfort, this can lead to leakage and even
infections. There is also a scarcity of private restrooms in schools, which inhibits girls
from changing, washing, or throwing away their menstruation products.
Rural women and girls also do not have adequate access to technology or technological
training. Enhancing the use and availability of technology to rural women and girls
enables them to advance economically through jobs, advances the community
economically by having more women participate in the economy, and gives them access
to educational materials.
Violence against rural women and girls is also a persisting issue. Women and girls who
have suffered from violence and domestic abuse either from intimate partners or the
police and court system often do not have the economic means to escape the situation.
With the above issues in mind, in order to establish true equality for all women and girls,
IDEAS For Us calls for Governments to:
• Increase access for women to capital and credit facilities, requiring lower levels of
collateral by banks to first time women account holders.
• Increase the advisory services of banks to rural women.
• Provide sanitary menstruation products to rural women and girls as well as private
bathrooms in schools.
• Increase access of technology to rural women and girls.
• Provide spaces for women suffering from domestic and institutional violence and
work against these issues to rehabilitate women.
• Funding of women run initiatives.
• Fostering local discussions on women’s issues and how to resolve them.
• Promote increased data sharing among Governments on challenges facing women
and projects working to resolve them.
Photo by Loren Joseph