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Economica: New exhibit at the International Museum of Women

December 11, 2009

Economica, the new exhibit at the International Museum of Women,

During a global financial crisis, like the current one, more women than men are affected financially: women make up 70% of the world’s 1.3 billion who are poor (defined as living on less than $1 per day). When those amount of resources shrink, so does the income. Interestingly enough, women produce 60-80% of the world’s food, yet only hold 10% of the world’s wealth and just 1% of the world’s land.

Ironically, or, what some of you have been saying for years (but the press recently picked up on it), is that women will help everyone to get out of this mess, also known as women are “the” solution. We’ve known for centuries that women are economists: they manage households, companies, and know how far to stretch that dollar to get the maximum amount of resources.

But women’s economic strengths are a result of learning to cope with their long-standing disadvantages: girls from low income families are more likely than boys to be pulled out of school, incidences of abuse and violence increase during tough financial times, and more women are likely to be laid off from their jobs more than men (for more info, see here).

The International Museum of Women has a new exhibit called “Economica” that deals with these discrepancies and possible solutions to an economy powered by women. Curator Masum Momaya states that “In other words, investing in women can’t just be about promoting their economic participation; it has to take into account women’s own needs and concerns and also generate real, lasting opportunities.”

Momaya therefore goes along with the saying that “Give a (wo)man a fish; you have fed her/him for today. Teach a (wo)man to fish; and you have fed her/him for a lifetime”—you can’t just give women money; you need to show them (by teaching them lifetime skills) how to make that money. The goal of the Economica exhibit is to:

…showcase women’s broad experiences as well as their exceptional expertise. We aim to illuminate what is going on in different corners of the world, why and what can be done to make things better. We want to acknowledge that women are a powerful engine of economic growth, but also help visitors dive beneath the jargon of economics to discover deeper causes and effects and probe how things might be different. Through women’s stories, we pose questions that do not have ready answers and we offer alternatives from those working locally and globally, not only to empower women, but also to transform the economy.

Check out the exhibit online at

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