By Chris Grumm
October 17 is World Poverty Day. Unlike International Women's Day in March, World Poverty Day is not a day to celebrate. It is, however, a time for action and raising our voices. Despite the overwhelming statistics on women and poverty, many of you are aware of the immense potential women have to overcome poverty, one household, one village and one country at a time.
I suggest we look to Washington, D.C., for inspiration - and no, I'm not necessarily talking about the government offices. A short distance from the capitol, women are gaining the skills they need to bring their households and communities out of poverty with the guidance of Women's Funding Network member Washington Area Women's Foundation . Their grantee partners are empowering women to finish school, build skills and find jobs. They are also ensuring girls of all ages have the knowledge and the confidence to improve their economic potential.
Women's funds around the world are engaged in similar work, but there are many places where women are still struggling to overcome gender inequality, poverty and violence. Much work remains to be done.
We know that poverty is disproportionately carried by women, along with all its attendant issues - from homelessness, to violence and lack of healthcare. Despite this, world leaders are not giving women the resources they need. Women grow half of the world's food ... but own only 1% of the farmland. In the United States, of the 37 million people living below the poverty line, 21 million are women.
In previous centuries women's common struggle was often for political justice or voting rights, so in this century, economic justice must be at the core of our work for a just and sustainable world.
As we all know, poverty is a central focus for our movement:
When a woman and her family are hungry, how can a woman become an organizer for community change?
When a woman and her family have no housing, how can a woman engage in advocacy projects, or in politics?
This year, to mark World Poverty Day , we are teaming up with UNIFEM  to tell world leaders what we've known all along: Investing in women disproportionately impacted by poverty can be the most powerful social change investment.
Poor women are increasingly recognized as an excellent investment risk. That's why, when our movement empowers the world's poorest women our impact increases exponentially. We know that investing in women is not risky business - it pays time after time. Furthermore, we believe that change will only happen when the world's poorest and most marginalized women have equal access to resources and assets.
By empowering women who are facing poverty - or who are pushed to the margins because of issues such as violence and human rights abuses - we unleash a powerful ripple effect that can improve the lives of all women and transform society. That belief is at the heart of our shared values, and binds us together as a movement across regions, nations and the globe.
In the coming months our Action Alerts will focus on women and poverty. We encourage you to contact us to share your stories of the role of women overcoming poverty. We also urge you to guide us toward new areas of activism where we must focus our energies.