As the old axiom goes: "Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime." But teach a woman to fish, and everyone eats for a lifetime. In this firsthand account, Ritu Sharma shares how women can, and are, overcoming the forces that keep them in poverty. She chronicles her travels through three countries – Sri Lanka, Burkino Faso, and Honduras – and the intimate interactions she had with the women living there. Sharma's story not only details her experiences, but also looks at the broader systems that prevent women from leaving poverty behind. From lack of property rights and government corruption to the scarcity of basic infrastructure like roads, these women are restricted by the external limitations placed upon them.
Sharma draws from her experiences to frame a larger exploration of how Americans can be instrumental in helping women break free of restrictive systems and begin to facilitate women's upward mobility. Written in her engaging personal voice, Teach a Woman to Fish provides an insider's look at women in poverty, how Washington works, and how change really happens – from the United States to the rest of the world.
Ritu Sharma is a leading voice on international women’s issues and US foreign policy. She is co-founder of Women Thrive Worldwide, a non-profit that places the concerns of women and girls living in poverty at the forefront of US international assistance. She lives in Annapolis, Maryland.