« Investing in women’s well-being is the best investment for development », by Lourdes Arizpe


Lourdes Arizpe is a honorary Doctorate in Anthropology, the Chair of the Board of the UN Research Institute for Social Development, a member of the UN Committee for Development Policy and a member of the Guidance Committee of the Danone Ecosystem Fund. Here is her testimony based on her experience of Danone Ecosystem Fund projects.


« I didn’t plan to become one but the community decided to choose me as a leader »: the words of Yulia Vasylevska, leader of a milk cooperative financed by the Danone Ecosystem Fund in Ukraine, open up the vision of women´s empowerment. In many Ecosystem projects, by offering women employment opportunities with a strong support network, by giving them access to better nutritional options, or by breaking the generational chain of violence against women, paths are being opened.

 As women take on new economic activities or help protect other women, the mindsets of the whole community change.

They may be subject to quadruple labour (paid labour, unremunerated domestic tasks, care of children and elderly persons, care of the chronically ill) – especially  if social services by the State are reduced – which  downgrades their health and that of their families.

Investing in women´s well-being is thus the best investment for development. In this light, the new initiative of Mr. Ban-Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, of giving priority to women´s health issues in development is highly welcome. As women´s capabilities are enhanced, they are able to think about the families but also about the community. They see themselves as taking part in a larger process of transformation, and thus act as social ambassadors to foster and to ensure that development benefits their communities.

 Learn more on the Ecosystem Fund website.

(Photography © Rogelio Cuellar)