Women empowerment simply means empowering women. It can be explained in many ways but when we talk about women empowerment, we simply mean allowing and accepting women to be a part of the decision making process. Empowerment is the process, which provides power to the individuals within their own lives, societies and even in their communities. People feel empowered when they are able to make their decisions and get opportunities without having to face any restrictions, discrimination or limitations, which includes education, profession and even lifestyles.
Women empowerment can be of many types and in many aspects of life which when, all combined would lead to complete 360-degree empowerment which is perfect and complete in every aspect of life and In every point of view.
But the road isn’t that smooth when we talk about women empowerment as there are even till today, many obstacles which women face when they demand equal opportunities and equal status in their society and in their daily lives.
Women empowerment has been an issue of great concern for the whole world for about decades now. Despite women exhibiting progress in sectors from technology to education, workforce and possessing high potentialities, they are still under-represented in the key leadership positions of organizations all over the world.
A major barrier that women face when it comes to gender equality and women empowerment is the social and cultural norms. Throughout history the role of women has been to take off their husbands, their family and their homes nothing else, Because of which it was believed that there was no need for women to get an education as they were only and solely responsible for household work and nothing more. Even after the law allowed women to attend school very few got the opportunity to do even the ones who actually attended school was only taught subjects which were related to household work which included sewing, cooking, laundry and etc.
women were not allowed to choose a profession in their lives nor were they allowed to work outside shoulder to shoulder with men, not only that they weren’t even allowed to make their own decisions by themselves as they had no right to own property or conduct any business, In short, they were considered incompetent of managing their affairs.
Later in 19th century women were finally were allowed to work outside but they were paid much lesser than what the male workers were given.
Despite the fact that at some workplaces women make the majority of workers. Even after that, women are unable to attain leading positions in their workplaces, which is indeed holding women back as women are unable to showcase their potential to lead and to prove that their decision-making capabilities are second to none, and if given the opportunity, might even hold the upper hand in some places.
Sexual harassment is another major concern, which is said to be a major barricade when it comes to women empowerment. And it happens to them more often than us men as women are considered weak fragile and easy to be threatened. According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), sexual harassment is a clear form of gender discrimination based on sex, a manifestation of unequal power relations between men and women. 54% (272) had experienced some form of workplace sexual harassment. 79% of the victims are women; 21% were men
Women face many other gender-related barriers such as unfair hiring and unequal pay, more commonly known as the wage gap, it doesn’t even end there as at some places if a female worker is expecting a child, she is pushed to the point where she has to choose between the job and her child. This is known as “child penalty”.
Types of women empowerment
Even though we all know what women empowerment mean but when you think about it there is no definition which can define it, as to each and all of us it has a different meaning, but it can be divided five different categories.
- Social empowerment
Social empowerment is perhaps the basic empowerment of all, as once achieved it gives women a better status and improves their position in social structures giving them a purpose outside of their homes as well. By achieving that their contributions to the society are praised and looked upto by people just like it would if done by a man rather than being looked down upon as done by a women as if it had no merit, no value, no worth. Social empowerment also fights back against discrimination, no longer letting people of different disabilities, religions, races, ethnicities, or genders be walked over by what’s considered ‘normal’.
- Political empowerment
Having a voice in politics can be substantial in letting a group’s view be pushed into the light of mainstream media, just like that it is important for women to be given a part in politics so that women too could have a say in the matters of the state so that women can also express and share their opinions. It would also provide women with a platform where women can share the difficulties and the hardships that women face and a position, which has the authority and power to make things better for them.
- Economical empowerment
As in the past, women had no economic power as they were not allowed to make contracts or to own a property and so they had no worth no value and because of that fact what they said had no or very little value. By seeing all that, now we know how important it is for women to have economical stability. So closing this gap would allow everyone to have equal footing, and women, in particular, would gain a more significant share of control over the material, human, intellectual, and financial resources
- Educational empowerment
As women in past centuries were denied basic education and hence they had no professional education or skills to be able to earn for themselves
Education is a necessity for every human being and without proper education for all, empowerment of any sort simply isn’t possible. Education puts everyone on equal footing, and lets young girls have access, which leads them to the knowledge to what their rights and duties are. Not only that obtaining knowledge would also provide young girls with self-confidence, which would allow girls to have pride in themself and would make them self-sufficient for whatever the task as hand.
- Psychological empowerment
Psychological empowerment connects with social empowerment.
The main idea is to change the traditional mindset of people, the mindset which claims that women cannot do anything on their own but to stay home. This would give women freedom and would encourage women allowing women to be able to go, beyond what they are expected to do and achieve in their lives and within their society, shoulder to shoulder with males of their society to that extent where gender discrimination would perish.
All five of these categories intertwine with one another, but it’s equally important to consider them separately as well. Each group has different main goals they’re aiming for, so trying to focus on them as a whole would be unbeneficial ultimately. Knowing what work has to be put into these five categories can provide a boost in the right direction, and allow empowerment not just for women, but eventually for all.
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