WORKING WOMEN

Ritu Sharma combating global abuse against women

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Statistics show one out of every three women worldwide will be physically, sexually or otherwise abused during her lifetime.

Also, millions of women and girls live on less than two dollars a day. These are troubling numbers.

Ritu Sharma is the President and Co-founder of Women Thrive Worldwide. Her D.C. office is a far cry from the areas she works on.

In Sharma’s most recent trip to Burkina Faso, a small West African country where many women live on less than two dollars a day, she continues her mission to help women living in similar circumstances.

“I think from a very early age I was pretty clear I wanted to change the world and I wanted to try and make it better for women and girls,” Sharma said.

Sharma's parents grew up in poverty in India, and Sharma also has other personal reasons for fighting poverty and violence against women.

“I am also a survivor of violence from a very young age, so a combination of different things, but I think when you hear those stories and something happens to you when you're very young it really puts a fire in your belly,” she said.

So, in 1998, Sharma founded Women Thrive Worldwide to advocate for U.S. International assistance and trade programs to help lift poor women and their children out of poverty.

To help fully understand the problems, Sharma goes to Africa, Guatemala and Nicaragua and lives on two dollars a day.

“I myself have to decide between should I buy a couple of Tylenol because I have a massive headache or should I buy some food to eat for dinner that night,” Sharma said.

Her work has brought accolades from Hillary Clinton, George W. Bush and more. Sharma is the mother of two boys, and hopes her work with women will help them be better men someday.

“It's about really seeing the dignity and honor in every person, male or female, black or white, rich or poor that all people deserve our respect,” she said.

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