5 Pillars to Women Empowerment
“Mothers are the makers of men and the architects of the next generations.” – John Macarthur
The role of women in our families and communities cannot be discounted. We bear children, we raise and nurture them, even if they are not biologically our own. What we teach our children through our words and actions, or on the extreme, the absence of a mother’s presence, has an impact on the way they live their lives, and how they raise and nurture their own as well.
Thankfully, in a matriarchal society such as ours, the general idea of women empowerment is not an entirely alien concept. We have an innate respect for our mothers and grandmothers, wives and girlfriends. Sometimes to an extreme, hence the terms “mama’s boy” or “under the saya”. Funny, but true.
But there are still many ways in which we can support and advocate women empowerment, especially in sectors of society where womens voices and rights still need to be reinforced. Based on published articles as well as findings from UN Women Facts & Figures, here are 5 ways we can help empower our own daughters, and the girls in our own communities.
1. Education. An OECD study shows that increasing women and girls’ education contributes to higher economic growth. Increased educational attainment accounts for about 50 per cent of the economic growth in OECD countries over the past 50 years, of which over half is due to girls having had access to higher levels of education and achieving greater equality in the number of years spent in education between men and women.
2. Health & Family life. According to justlikemychild.com, the cycle of poverty starts with a life of early marriage, pregnancy and disease. Educating young girls early on about the importance of education, the ill-effects of drug, repercussions of sexually transmitted diseases, and teenage pregnancy will guide them towards making smart decisions and the path to economic independence.
3. Work & the workplace. Let’s be supportive of women in the workplace. From rolling out the 100 Day Maternity Leave, to giving working mothers a breastfeeding room, to promoting them to leadearship roles. Women Matter, a paper by consulting firm McKinsey & Co. has shown that women’s economic equality is good for business. Companies greatly benefit from increasing leadership opportunities for women, which is shown to increase organizational effectiveness. It is estimated that companies with three or more women in senior management functions score higher in all dimensions of organizational effectiveness.
4. Goal setting & career planning with a mentor. It seems that women have a harder time finding a mentor than men do, writes Peggy Drexler for Forbes.com. Maybe it has to do with the fact that a working woman’s time is divided to also caring for her family, hence the lack of time for mentoring fellow women. Heck, even Sheryl Sandberg thinks being asked to be a mentor is a “mood killer”, but the fact of the matter is, women need to stick together and help each other out. Because if we won’t, who else will?
5. Access to capital. According to World Bank Findex, Women tend to have less access to formal financial institutions and saving mechanisms. But studies on microfinance institutions also show that not only are women more reliable borrowers, they are also more likely to repay on time than men. Giving women entrepreneurs access to capital is not only less risky, it has an impact not only on their businesses but on their households as well. The World Development Report by the World Bank shares evidence that increases in women’s incomes improves the health, nutritional and educational status of their households, particularly children.
In essence, women empowerment may sound like a simple checklist, but there are still challenges to implementation. Nonetheless, it is something that needs to be taken seriously. Empowering women has an impact on their families, their communities, and their country as well. This effect reverberates and cascades to future generations, and is the so called multiplier effect of women empowerment.
Let’s do something about it, not just for ourselves, but for our children and their children as well.