The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) released a report Monday that found that gender equity is key to the well being and development of children. The State of the World’s Children 2007 report finds that equality of women produces a “double dividend,” allowing empowered and healthy women to have empowered and healthy children, according to the report (PDF). “Gender equality and the well-being of children are inextricably linked,” said UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman. “When women are empowered to lead full and productive lives, children and families prosper.”
Among the findings was the fact that, when women play a strong role in making household decisions, more of the family”s resources are devoted to children. Additionally, the report found that women are more likely to prioritize their children’s nutrition, healthcare, and education. “If we care about the health and well-being of children today and into the future, we must work now to ensure that women and girls have equal opportunities to be educated, to participate in government, to achieve economic self-sufficiency, and to be protected from violence and discrimination,” Veneman said, according to UNICEF’s press release.