Women’s empowerment can be defined as promoting women’s sense of self-worth, their ability to determine their own choices, and their right to influence social change for themselves and others. In the West, women empowerment is linked to the women’s rights movement in history. This movement tends to be split into three waves - the first began in the 19th and early 20th century where suffrage was a key feature. The second wave of the 1960s included the sexual revolution and role of women in society. Third wave feminism is often seen as beginning in the 1990s. Women’s empowerment is continuing to break new ground in recent years. But despite a great deal of progress, women and girls continue to face discrimination and violence in every part of the world.
Gender equality is a basic human right, and is fundamental to having a peaceful, prosperous world. But girls and women continue to face challenges all around the world. Women are typically underrepresented in power and decision-making roles. They receive unequal pay for equal work, and they often face legal and other barriers that affect their opportunities at work. Globally, women earn on average substantially less than men. The gender wage gap stands at 23% – meaning that women earn 77 cents on every dollar earned by men for each hour worked. For women of colour, disabled women, indigenous women and migrant women the pay gaps are even higher. Women’s lower pay, greater concentration in part-time, informal and precarious work as well as career breaks or job loss due to their higher share in unpaid care work leads to women’s higher risk of poverty. It also contributes to their inadequate or even nonexistent social security entitlements, leaving them especially vulnerable in old age. In Singapore, more than 25,000 women from low-income families are struggling to find and sustain a living.
Organisations empowering women
- Malala Fund - Malala and Ziaddin Yousafzai founded the Malala Fund to ensure every girl’s right to a free, safe, and quality education.
- Girls Who Code - inspire more girls and women to enter the predominantly male-dominated computer science, engineering, and coding fields.
- Solar Sister - invests in women’s clean energy businesses in off-grid communities in Africa.
- Daughters of Tomorrow (DOT) - empowers women to attain gainful employment and a better future through skills-training, job-bridging and support programmes.
- Aidha - helps lower-income women with important skills like money management, computer literacy, leadership and business acumen.
- Wings - promotes active ageing for women, particularly for those from low-income families
How do I empower women?
- Offer support to all women
- Always be ready to recommend other women
- Invest in or support women-run businesses
- Speak up about gender issues.
- Bring women into the conversation
- Do not get competitive with other women
- Compliment her mind and soul—not just how she looks
- Thank women
Content: worldvision.com.au, ituc-csi.org, unwomen.org, mindbodygreen.com, thehoneycombers.com