We talk about Women and Girls’ empowerment all the time and the need to achieve gender parity. But statistics still indicate that we have a long way to go in achieving this milestone.
When it comes to development and change, women and girls play a very key role.
Empowering women and girls is very crucial in achieving inclusive, fair and prosperous societies world over.
There are so many ways that individuals and organizations can empower women and girls. Note that, this can be in the simplest form whatsoever, as long as a girl’s or woman’s life benefits from the act.
The Sustainable Development Goals 5 and 10 all point to achieving gender equality and reducing inequalities so that by 2030, everyone across the globe can enjoy peace and prosperity.
In this article, I have highlighted 5 ways in which women and girls could benefit from our initiatives. I have been involved in some of these initiatives and witnessed the impact they’ve had on the lives of women and girls.
According to research, young girls have pointed out the lack of mentors to help them choose their career paths. This is especially a big challenge with girls from rural areas.
There are so many women who’ve gone ahead and achieved in their different fields, but paying it forward through mentorship has been lacking.
I look up to so many courageous and successful women in different fields like Sheryl Sandberg, Martha Koome, Michelle Obama, Dr. Chao Mbogho and Tabitha Karanja among many others.
By the way, you don’t need to be a global icon to offer mentorship. I have featured several women, young and old, on our Shaboard blog who are changing the empowerment path in their own ways, and I treat them as mentors. The likes of Bisharo Hussein, Deborah Nafula, Meble Atsango among many others.
Young girls need to know that they can achieve anything they set their minds to. But we need to acknowledge that they need support from those who’ve done it.
A key area that needs a lot of mentorship is the STEM fields. These are areas where the gender gap is significantly evident and one way to bridge this is to have more women in STEM step up mentorship for girls who would love to pursue this path.
Many girls in the rural areas are still held back by poverty, teenage pregnancies, early marriages among other challenges.
Reaching out to them as a mentor or even tutor could prove to be very helpful in order to change the cycle of poverty in their communities.
2. Access to Education
There is still a huge gap when it comes to women and girls accessing education as compared to their male counterparts.
What does this mean? They are likely to miss out on crucial opportunities that require certain levels of education background or qualifications.
Investing in women and girls’ education would go a long way to bridge that gap ensuring that everyone can access the opportunities on the table.
Just like mentorship, emphasis should also be put on educating women and girls on matters technology. This is especially important because the world is now digital and there are many opportunities that have been brought about as a result of this development.
Empowering women and girls means enabling them to also tap into these technological opportunities so that they are not left behind.
Advocacy can be done in many ways, including both offline and online. There are so many individuals and organizations that champion women and girls’ rights in different fields.
We have organizations like UN Women, Inua Dada, Shaboard, Women Deliver, AWEC, Power Dada among others and individuals like Michelle Obama, Malala Yousafzai, Janet Mbugua, Gabriel Union, among many others, at the forefront of championing women and girls’ rights.
Through different advocacy initiatives, one can:
- Highlight cases of abuse of women and girls, early marriages or teenage pregnancies.
- Advocate for a quality education, healthcare, equal participation and leadership
- Join as a volunteer with organizations that empower women and girls
- Call out individuals or organizations that infringe on the rights of women and girls
- Educate people about the importance of empowering women and girls
4. Improve Quality of Life
When it comes to quality of life, women and girls around the world continue to lag behind. Due to many of them lacking quality education or economic empowerment, they have to stay at home to run the daily household activities. Some of them end up being married off or getting pregnant at a very early age.
Unfortunately for some of them, this involves walking several kilometers every day in search of water and firewood. In some instances, they have to walk very far in search of affordable or free health services.
Why not bring such crucial amenities and basic needs closer to them? This is a very important empowerment initiative that would give women and girls access to a decent life.
5. Invest in their Careers/Businesses
Investing in women’s careers or businesses makes them economically empowered and this has a trickle-down effect on their families and communities.
If a woman is economically empowered, it means that she can be able to afford education not just for her but for her children, access medical services and participate in building their respective communities and countries.
Empowering them could also come in form of loans for their businesses, being given equal job opportunities because they are just as qualified or grants to expand their businesses and other initiatives.
There are a lot of initiatives that exist to support women entrepreneurs like the African Women Entrepreneurship Cooperative, DADA by Stanbic Kenya and Stanchart Women Incubator, just to name a few.
Remember, there are so many ways to empower women and girls, but the most important aspect to remember is that you can start right from your home. You could then extend to schools, orphanages, businesses and other communities.
At Shaboard Enterprise, we have over the years tried in our own ways to empower women and girls through access to education, mentorship and advocacy through our blog and offline initiatives.
Should you have a women and girls’ empowerment story that you wish to share, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Together, let us empower women and girls and contribute to a fair and inclusive society.