Basically, women empowerment is a term that is used to describe the process of allowing women to participate in the decisions that are made by society. It also involves raising the status of women through education, raising awareness, and promoting literacy.
Gender equality is a human right
Despite the progress made over the past decades, gender inequality and discrimination against women continue to be a pressing concern. Millions of women and girls still experience discrimination based on gender and sex. The discrimination is often rooted in the social fabric of our societies.
Gender equality is a fundamental human right. It is essential for achieving economic prosperity, preventing violence against women, and promoting peace and security. It is also a prerequisite for reducing poverty.
In the United States, the gender pay gap is a stark indicator of gender discrimination. Women working in the same occupation earn only 77% of what men earn, increasing their risk of poverty in later life.
Gender equality means the equal distribution of power, access to education, health care, and economic resources, as well as the freedom to develop personal abilities. It also implies freedom from stereotypes and discrimination based on gender.
Women thrive when businesses grow
Investing in women’s economic empowerment has been proven to be one of the best investments you can make. Research shows that companies with women on the payroll are better at innovation and product development. In addition, women are better at customer service and marketing.
There are a few ways to do this. One of the best ways is to leverage the resources of your state, city or town to support small businesses. These include supplier diversity programs available at local, state and federal levels. Using a business registry like the WBENC will help you find a list of eligible businesses to partner with.
For the ladies on the go, one of the best ways to retain staff is to offer flexible work hours. Creating a work environment that promotes health and wellness will help you retain employees and achieve the most out of your workforce.
Women reinvest 90% of their income back into their families and communities
Investing in women can lead to long term benefits for both individuals and communities. In many low income countries, women make up more than half of the agricultural labor force. By supporting women farmers, we can unlock the power of global food systems. This could result in a 150 million fewer hungry mouths to feed.
Investing in women can be accomplished through cash for work programs and expanded child care support. The World Bank is well suited to helping women re-enter the workplace and return to economic activity. In addition to cash transfers, the bank offers better access to credit for women-led firms, agricultural inputs, and improved farm equipment in countries such as Afghanistan, Nepal, and Mauritania.
Investing in women is an important part of any society’s quest for social, economic, and environmental justice. Women are crucial to creating a stable society. They provide critical unpaid care for their families, provide better health care, and play an important role in the fight against hunger. In many low income countries, women work 12 to 13 hours a week more than men. They operate 70% of the small scale businesses in emerging markets.
Measures of women’s empowerment
Several indicators are available for measuring women’s empowerment. These indicators highlight the multidimensional nature of empowerment.
Self-esteem and sense of community are examples of indicators used to measure women’s empowerment. These indicators focus on individual women’s ability to regulate emotions and behaviour.
Bandura (2001) has developed the concept of self-efficacy as a measure of women’s empowerment in international development. Women’s self-efficacy is measured by asking women about their perceived ability to perform specific behaviour.
Another measurement is the Survey-based Women’s Empowerment Index (SEWI) created by Ewerling et al. This measure is used to assess the level of women’s empowerment in sub-Saharan Africa. It is correlated with infant mortality. The low empowerment index is associated with infant mortality and under-5 mortality.
The highest empowerment score is found in Armenia and the lowest in Burkina Faso. In addition, the indicator is positively associated with maternal health, contraceptive use and infant mortality.
Limitations of the study
Increasingly, women in the Middle East and North Africa are attempting to become more active in public spheres. However, the active engagement of women in the public space remains limited. Moreover, existing evidence suggests an urgent need to co-opt and engage men.
Empowerment is not just about increasing women’s participation in public spheres, but also pressing for structural change. Empowerment must include processes to make people perceive themselves as capable and entitled. It also includes processes to enable people to recognise their own right to action. The best laws are doomed to failure if the implementers are not empowered.
Empowerment may also involve defying prevailing social norms, such as defying traditional gender roles. These defiances may lead to domestic conflict. Moreover, subtle restrictions on young married women’s mobility may limit their access to social resources.