Women Empowerment

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Women Empowerment, how WOMEN have always played an important role in our society

Evidence has shown that women empowerment is one of the most effective ways to help vulnerable communities. Women are more likely to invest back into their communities and empower their children, which then sets off a ripple effect that affects the whole community positively. Women empowerment is simply the process through which women are empowered. It is the act of empowering women. Women empowerment is under the feminist movement. It entails economic empowerment of women, political empowerment of women, and social empowerment of women. Women empowerment includes increasing the educated percentage of women, allowing women to make life-determining decisions, allowing women to step out of gender roles, and the general liberation of women. In this article, we’ll be discussing the topic of women empowerment, outlining ways women can be empowered, outlining the hindrances blocking women empowerment, and discussing the benefits of women empowerment.

Women in Nigeria have always played pivotal roles. Women are primarily in charge of childbirth services and raising the children. Women are the pillars which hold up societies; however, unfortunately, they are often the most vulnerable in society. Women are important in society, and women empowerment is vital for any society that wants to grow and evolve.

How We Can Empower Women

Women empowerment doesn’t have to be an overly complicated or political topic. Everyone can contribute to women empowerment. In this section, we’ll be sharing seven ways we can empower women. These are steps to take individually and as a nation.

  1. Education – Nigeria has the highest rates of out-of-school children. One in every five out-of-school children in the world is Nigerian. For the girl child, over half of Nigerian girls are out-of-school. The first step to women empowerment is to emphasise and support girl child education. Education is important for women empowerment. Through education, women become more knowledgeable which means they are more likely to pursue careers and work towards financial stability. The very foundation of Women empowerment lies in education. Without proper education for the girl child, empowerment is nearly impossible.
  1. Sexual and Reproductive Health & Rights – This is another important step in encouraging women empowerment. It is crucial that girls and women have sexual and reproductive health classes as well as sexual and reproductive rights. This includes giving women autonomy over their bodies. This also includes proper sex and reproductive education. Sex education classes help to reduce teen pregnancy rates as well as promote safe sexual practices later in life. Sexual rights are important because they help to reduce sexual violence against girls and women.
  1. Leadership Roles – Placing women in leadership roles is vital in two ways. The first is that visual representation is important to inspire younger girls. It is not enough to tell the girl child that she can be a leader; you have to show her other female leaders. Second, placing women in leadership roles is an effective way to have better decisions when it comes to women’s issues. It is important that women are the ones making the decisions concerning women’s rights and women empowerment. Women in leadership roles encourage other women to persevere. It also helps to reduce the alarming political apathy rates in women voters.
  1. Entrepreneurship – A lot of women in vulnerable communities do not have or have not had access to formal education which means they cannot access most white-collar jobs. Their road to financial empowerment is often an entrepreneurial one. It is important that we support women’s businesses financially and emotionally. For women in vulnerable communities, they are often competing with huge corporations; therefore, it is important that we support women’s businesses, especially small businesses.
  1. Provision of the Basics – The basics are food, shelter, and clothing. Underneath food, we also have clean water. For a woman to be empowered, she needs to have access to food, shelter, clean water, and clothing. Without these things, women in vulnerable communities will be unable to pursue financial liberation because they are focused on acquiring the basics. We need to ensure women have the basics so that they are free to pursue financial stability.
  1. Mentorship – This is similar to having women in leadership roles. It is important that women have mentorship programs where they see other women who are empowered. This provides motivation and inspiration.
  1. Address Gender Roles – Gender roles are traditional roles that are supposedly the appropriate way for the genders to act. Gender roles are often weaponised by extremist groups to push for toxic gender behaviours. We must address toxic gender roles that hinder the empowerment of women.

Before we move on to discuss how women empowerment can benefit society, let’s take a look at some of the issues hindering women empowerment.

  1. Toxic Gender Roles – Toxic gender roles are beliefs that promote the subservience of women. Such as believing women shouldn’t work, believing women shouldn’t go to school or believing in child marriage etc. All these beliefs are rooted in toxic gender roles.
  1. Isolation – Women are often discouraged from uniting and forming close bonds. This is why mentorship is extremely important. Women who are isolated from other women are more likely to endure abusive situations. It is important that women are encouraged to have other female friends and form close relationships.
  1. Illiteracy – Illiteracy is also a key factor hindering the empowerment of women. Women who are uneducated have fewer opportunities available to them. And because girl education is such an important part of women empowerment, illiteracy is a huge issue that must be tackled.
  1. Traditional Views – Traditional views are often based on toxic gender roles. These views often hinder the empowerment of women because they reinforce submission in women.
  1. No Funds – A lack of funds and poverty is a huge hindrance towards women empowerment. Financial empowerment is a huge step towards women empowerment. Financial empowerment is important for the empowerment of women.
  1. Representation in Media – The primary purpose of media is to entertain; therefore, it comes as no surprise that there is often poor representation or bad representation of women in media. It is important that representation of women in the media begins to take on a more empowering and positive note. This is not to say that all media representation of women must be positive, that would be impossible. However, it is important that women have good representation in the media.

Besides the earlier mentioned points on how to improve and support women empowerment, other ways NGOs and charity foundations support women empowerment is through setting up women empowerment programs. These programs provide women with either training or equipment or both so that they may begin to support themselves. Other ways that women empowerment can be supported is through encouraging women to pursue careers that have very low women representation. An example of this can be found in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.)

Women have begun taking jobs in male-dominated fields. These are steps in the right direction. Women such as Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Sandra Aguebor, a mechanic who trains other women to become more financially independent.

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