When a country has problems, women are often the answer

The World
Portraits of women around the globe

PRI and PRI’s The World have long covered inequality between men and women. Now, we are stepping up our game by introducing a focused beat called Across Women’s Lives. Here’s why.

The status of women in society affects issues that we report on every day — from health and human rights to education and economic development, to culture and social conflict. Research has typically shown that even modest investments in women go a long way for society.

When girls receive more education, their children are healthier. When women have more ownership of property, domestic violence often drops. When more women work outside the home, a country’s economic output rises. And when women hold elective office, government corruption is lower.

Yet in spite of the social benefits, gender inequity remains common throughout the world — including in developed countries like the US. It takes focused effort, creativity and persistence to shift the gender balance closer to equality. It means changing culture, changing tradition and changing attitudes.

PRI’s The World and our partners will travel across the globe to share stories of what it takes to change the status of women. We’ll look at how initiatives that raise women's status affect their communities and countries.

Our reporters will look across women’s lives — from birth to childhood to adulthood, and from middle age to old age — exploring how gender roles play out from our first days to our last across health care, education, employment, politics and social life. And we’ll invite you to share this journey and your own experiences.

We’ll examine the role both men and women play in maintaining traditions that limit the status of women. We’ll ask you and others across the globe to compare notes, discuss, argue and share your stories. We’ll offer women the chance to see what life looks like across cultures by connecting them with women of the same age and social situation in other countries.

We are launching a weekly Across Women’s Lives e-newsletter to highlight coverage by us and others, surface lively conversations and offer options to get involved in our reporting and the issues. We hope you’ll join us in our Facebook discussion group, respond to our stories on Twitter and add to the conversation using the hashtag #womenslives.

We’ll be partnering with other news organizations and collaborating with SheKnows Media and its BlogHer network to invite many different voices and perspectives into this deep dive into gender equity. We will update our list of partners regularly. Thanks to support from the Gates Foundation, we have hired a team of passionate global journalists to lead Across Women’s Lives.

Senior editor Julia Barton will craft our overall coverage from the Boston newsroom of PRI’s The World. Partnership editor Jane Little will help us connect with organizations as committed to covering the lives of women as we are. Producer Jo Erickson will guide our social outreach and online conversations. Producer Anne Bailey will focus on telling stories through video, images, graphics and data. And project manager Andrew Ramsammy will coordinate the many moving parts and bring PRI-affiliated public radio stations into the initiative.

Twenty years ago, the Beijing International Conference on Women concluded that nations must “develop the fullest potential of girls and women of all ages, [and] ensure their full and equal participation in building a better world for all.” With your help and that of many partners, Across Women’s Lives will explore just how far we have come in meeting that goal.

Let us know below if you want to join us in this journey.

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