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The term of female empowerment seems to get thrown around quite often in the news and at work these days, but what does women empowerment actually mean? The five pillars of women's empowerment are: the sense of self-worth; the right to make and exercise choices; access to opportunities and resources; the right to have the authority to manage their own lives, both inside and outside the home; and the capacity to direct social transformation toward the development of a more equal order both socially and economically on a global level.
- Advocate for female colleagues: In order to empower one another at work, women must collaborate. For instance, Reese Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine is a media company that uses film, and visual media to shine a light on female experiences. A monthly book club hosted by Hello Sunshine showcases a different female author each time.
- Set a good example: One of the most crucial ways to empower women is when role models have a big impact on young girls’ lives. Appreciate many forms of beauty, give women the strength and kindness to succeed, and inspire women to materialize their goals.
- Take up mentoring: Becoming a mentor is a fantastic opportunity to motivate young women, whether you create an industry-based mentoring program or concentrate on motivating your friends and family members. Get a group of women together and motivate them to take action towards their goals with well-informed choices.
Why Is Women Empowerment Relevant
The wellbeing and socioeconomic advancement of families, communities, and nations depend on the empowerment of women. Societies where women are empowered can take much better care of themselves and reduce violence against women and girls. Ultimately, equality for women and men result in societies that are much safer, healthier, and more affluent.
Brief Women Empowerment History
It’s only in the last 200 years that women have truly started to see changes in society in regards to their gender’s empowerment. Starting in 1848, 300 men and women sign the Declaration of Sentiments in the United States, calling for an end to discrimination against women. Then in 1893, New Zealand became the first sovereign nation in the world to grant all women the right to vote in parliamentary elections. It wasn’t until after World War II in 1947, that the Commission on the Status of Women, which had its inaugural session at the UN, promoted gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. They advocate for action, execution, and expectations for continuous progress toward gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. Their job consists of putting important topics related to gender equality on the international agenda.
What is Equity in Gender and Why It Is Important
Living in a society that is fair toward both men and women is the goal of gender equity. In order to maintain fairness, tactics and measures must frequently be accessible to make up for the historical and societal disadvantages faced by women, which hinder them from competing on an even playing field with their male counterparts. Equality is what results from equity.
Children are empowered by gender-equitable educational institutions, which also support the growth of crucial life skills like time-management, communication, negotiation, and critical thinking. These key skills will later evolve into the workplace, making it easier for there to be equal opportunity in senior teams and in developing inclusive leadership on all levels. Ultimately, gender equity will create impact the economy of entire nations by closing skills disparities that cause wage gaps. This is why this year’s International Women’s Day theme is #EmbraceEquity.
The Benefits of Empowering Women to Other Women
Women empowerment changes women’s situation for the better. Here are a few women benefit from uplifting others in their gender:
- Increased opportunities: Historically, because there were so few positions at the top, women were traditionally encouraged to be competitive with one another. That tactic fails. The reality is that the only real way women can alter the situation is by lifting one another up and leveraging the power of teamwork. Collectively, this will boost the gender’s amount of opportunities.
- Improved self-esteem: Girls are expected to be people-pleasers from a young age by often being instructed to be quiet, collected, modest, and other things. As kids get older, they realize that this isn’t right but are hesitant to speak up because they have an idealized image of the ideal female in their heads. Women that empower other women bring about change in society. This has a significant effect on their self-esteem, as more women start to trust their own power and feel better prepared to overcome new hurdles. They can encourage others to express their thoughts; let them know how important they are so they won't be afraid to do so.
- Role modeling and mentorship: When women relate to their mentor and see what someone like themselves has accomplished, this inspires them to reach their goals. Mentoring programs can make a big impact on setting women on the path to their goals. When women engage with seasoned professionals through mentorship networks, they have the chance to get valuable insight on the career route that would be most successful for them and increase their professional opportunities.
- Breaking down gender barriers and stereotypes: Because men have dominated leadership roles for so long, when a woman demonstrates these qualities, they are not as well received. However, as more women take on leadership roles, they can break down gender barriers and stereotypes with their understanding that all women don’t fit perfectly into the box of the “ideal woman”. When women take on leadership roles, it can help dismantle outdated stereotypes and move towards a healthier and equal society.
5 Ways to Forward Women Empowerment
Women's empowerment is all about rights and fair society. They were considered to be almost property in prior times. The revolution for women's emancipation started with women’s emancipation and the right to vote. However, we still have a ways to go as a society. Here are a few ways to move the needle forward when it comes to female empowerment:
- Increasing access to education and job training: The only way to change the cyclical nature of poverty into a cycle of wealth is to educate women and girls over the world. Although we live in the twenty-first century, several nations still forbid girls from receiving an education. And there are a number of reasons for it, including safety, the lack of neighboring schools, or the simple perception that it is not a big deal. The only way societies and countries can effectively implement economic progress and prosperity is by enlisting the skills and capabilities of their female citizens and providing access to education, so they can hone said skills.
- Advocating for equal pay and equal rights: The first step in reducing the wage gap is to know the market rate for your industry. This will offer you greater negotiation leverage. Once you know the number, don't be afraid to negotiate and highlight what value you bring to the table. If you are in a position that can help support more equitable pay, make sure you advocate for those who are underpaid.
- Encouraging women to pursue leadership positions: According to a Harvard Business Review blog post, men apply for jobs when they fulfill 60% of the requirements, whereas women only do so when they meet 100%. By making women in your organization feel that they can take on greater leadership roles and encouraging them to use their abilities at work, you are leveling the playing field. When actively promoting your female employees, you’re ensuring the success of your company.
- Encouraging equal share of household chores and childcare: Women still perform more household chores and childcare than men. In fact, about twice as much as their male spouses, despite the fact that women outnumber men in the paid workplace. Men being equal partners at home is the first step for gender equality at work. Men must contribute fairly to domestic work, child care, child-related transportation, the emotional work of organizing and keeping track of activities, and supporting their wife's job in order to be a true ally and gender partner. Gender equality at work is accelerated when men actually practice equal collaboration at home, as this enables women to leverage that time to develop their skills or apply for higher paying jobs.
- Supporting women-owned businesses: You can promote fairness and equality by making a purchase at a company run by women. You are making an investment in your community's general development, gender equality in the workplace, and the economic empowerment of women. Increasing the number of women-owned enterprises also aids in reducing the pay gap. However, starting a business can be challenging, especially when the business requires an investment. By sharing resources like business loans for women, small business grants, and other business opportunities, you can help female entrepreneurs get started. You might like to get familiar with a list of the best small business loans for women as a starting point.
How Men Can Be Allies in Empowering Women
To create an effective shift towards gender equality, it’s not only women that have to be onboard and making an effort. Here are a few ways men can support women empowerment:
- Breaking down patriarchal systems and attitudes: Until everyone accepts that we are all equal, there can never be equality. Despite differences in color, gender, sexual orientation, background, and mental and physical ability, everyone should be treated equally.
- Being advocates for women's rights: Pay attention to women’s perspective. Men should make the fundamental commitment to amplify women's voices, acknowledge their experiences, and inspire other men in a way that fosters trust and respect.
- Encouraging women's empowerment within their own communities: Whether it’s your local city council or your kids’ school, actively participate in your community. When discussing or bringing up concerns related to equality and prejudice, be vocal when you see something that is unfair. Additionally, help educate the next generation on equality.
- Working against gender pay gap and inequality in the workplace: If you're in a position to do so, offer equal pay for equal work. Otherwise, diplomatically, challenge the unequal beliefs of those in charge of making the decision. To level the playing field when it comes to skill sets, encourage getting mentors to your colleagues who want to negotiate a raise or get a promotion.
Become an Agent of Change
An important part of making change materialize is learning ways how to do it. This is why understanding the right strategies to do so is crucial. Below are a few resources on how to become active in empowering other women:
- Get Educated: Increase your knowledge about women empowerment issues with these resources.
- Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez
- Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes
- The Source of Self-Regard by Toni Morrison
- Girlboss Radio hosted by Avery Francis
- So Money hosted by Farnoosh Torabi
- The Wing hosted by Audrey Gelman
- Get Active: Once you have an understanding of female empowerment, it’s time to put all that knowledge to good use by being an active member of the community. Here are a few great organizations to be part of:
- UN Women
- Empowering Women Network
- Girl’s Globe
- Ensure Gender Equity at Work: All people across the world will gain from political, economic, and social equality for women. By working together, we can end prejudice and promote equality for everyone. This can be done by acknowledging, avoiding and educating others about gender stereotypes. This will help ensure more equal numbers of women become role models and leaders to both men and women.
How to Start a Women's Empowerment Group in Your Community?
A women's empowerment group is a place where women may get together to discuss issues that are important to them, either in person or online and take action to change these issues. Here are a few simple steps on how to get started with a women’s empowerment group:
- Decide the goals of the community: A women's group can be started around any subject, including finances, marriage, families, travel, and even career options.
- Pick a name: The name should support the mission of your community.
- Activities: Choose a few things you and your women's group can accomplish.
- Grow: Discover fresh approaches to expand and support your women's group.
Final Word: The Impact of Empowered Women On Society
We all lose value as a result of gender prejudice, which threatens our social fabric. It is not merely a matter of human rights. By denying women the same rights as men, we prevent half of the population from experiencing life to the fullest and waste a vast amount of untapped human potential on a global scale. When women are empowered and are able to reach their full potential, families and communities are strengthened, which ultimately helps improve a country’s economic stability. This then impacts education, healthcare, and the wellbeing of all.