Women’s economic empowerment is about giving women equal opportunities as men to participate in, contribute to, and benefit from economic resources.
Worldwide, the importance of women being empowered is ever-growing. We have gone forward in our world in recent years, but in some places, women do not have the same rights as they do in others.
In some countries, women are not trusted with financial power and do not have the same financial rights as men do. Some countries do not even allow their female citizens to open bank accounts.
Too many women are prevented from having proper jobs and contributing to our economy. Locking women out of a country’s economy can have a drastically negative impact, as women make up more than half the population of most countries and the world. It is roughly estimated that, to close the economic gender gap, it will take 170 years at the rate it is closing currently.
Many organizations have made it one of their key principles to focus on reversing this problem and giving women financial power. Many organizations have established guidelines for countries and companies to follow which will further empower women and advance economies.
All countries throughout the world should give their women the right to contribute to the country’s economy, because not only will this better the overall nation, but it will also give women confidence and self-respect.
What is Women’s Economic Empowerment?
The term women’s economic empowerment is defined as giving women equal opportunities as men to participate in, contribute to, and benefit from economic resources. Women’s economic empowerment gives women the power to control their own finances and have some type of financial status.
It is one of the key principles of a nation’s development according to the Millennium Development Goals. Economic empowerment can increase a woman’s ability to access different economic resources, have better and higher-paying jobs, have access to different financial services such as banks, own property, gain financial status, and more.
It is recognized by many different organizations as one of the most important ways any country can grow economically and thrive well on a global scale.
In countries with a higher level of gender equality, it is proven that they tend to have better education and better access to education, better health and better healthcare facilities, higher per capita income, faster economic growth, and higher international competitiveness.
Many studies prove that those companies which have more female workers and more women in their leadership tend to have higher financial returns.
However, despite the fact that, worldwide, women obtain higher education on a much larger scale than men do, and over 90 percent of women finish primary school, they do not have as many opportunities as men do in the working field and many fields have wide gender gaps.
In some countries, the gender gap in the workforce is higher than in others. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Ecuador, Honduras, Morocco, and Greece are considered the top ten countries in which there is a large gap between women and men in the workforce, according to Gallup Polls.
It is estimated that women tend to do more than three times the amount of unpaid work than men do. Even when women perform the same work as men do, it is common that they receive less pay than their male counterparts.
Some countries have laws that prevent or greatly limit women from owning or inheriting their own property, starting a business, traveling outside of their homes (especially without a man or a man’s permission), and even their ability to own a passport.
There are many women who work without any sort of legal protection, and some even face sexual harassment, violence, and other restrictions that violate their basic human rights in the workplace.
This often is a reason why many women do not want to work or why they are prohibited from working by their families. These are some of the greatest problems we face in our world and that greatly hinder international and economic progress.
How Can We Empower Women Economically?
Women’s economic empowerment, once again, is a key principle of many organizations. The United Nations, Oxfam, and the World Economic Forum are just a few examples.
It is identified that, as an initial step, businesses can help to understand different biases or stereotypes that exist within their organizations, and address these issues.
There are several organizations which particularly produce many problems for women who have recently become a mother or who otherwise have children.
Some companies within their structures and hierarchies do not believe that women are as competent as men are, or that women are capable of performing the same work as men are. Companies also need to get rid of their bias that women cannot make the same amount of money that men can, so that way, women are paid an equal amount for the same amount of work.
For all of these reasons, many women suffer in their jobs, are prevented from advancing in their positions, and getting higher pay. This may even serve as a reason why some women do not want to work altogether- because they do not want to face discrimination or harassment in the workplace.
If women are treated as equals and feel comfortable where they work, then this can lead to women feeling economically empowered and nations advancing economically.
Setting quotas in their recruitment for women’s economic empowerment
Another way businesses and organizations can support women’s economic empowerment is by setting quotas in their recruitment and hiring processes. By setting a certain percentage of women who need to be hired, this can greatly reduce the gender gap in the workplace.
Many countries have some sort of quota for the amount of women needed to be in politics, parliament, and other governmental agencies. In nine countries, legislative mandates have passed which establish quotas for corporate boards.
Companies introducing new policies which better accommodate women with families also can support women’s economic empowerment. If women know that they can have children and it will not impact their work, and they can comfortably go on maternity leave, then this may serve as motivation for women to work more and have more financial power to not only support themselves but their families as well.
Companies with paid maternity and paternity leave can gain many more employees and thus benefit financially too.
The United Nations Development Programme, also known as the UNDP, helps to provide different nations with the tools they need to enhance women’s economic empowerment.
It provides policy advice, different tools for supporting building capacity in worldwide governments, the private sector, and civil society, so as to reduce the gender gap and promote equality and women’s economic empowerment.
Women are considered key providers to each country’s economy through producing food, managing natural resources, caring for children and for the elderly, being entrepreneurs and employees for many different businesses, and through providing resilience in communities to climate change and disasters.
Because of this, the UN and UNDP work extensively with national governments and other agencies to support women’s economic development. They help governments to create new economic plans, policies, and social protection systems so that women can be empowered and can have the same opportunities as men do to work.
Examples of these policies
Some examples of these policies include having the same access as men do to employment and economic opportunities, resources, finance, and developing budget processes.
The CEO of DoubleXEconomy, Cynthia Drakeman, said in an interview, “I think of empowerment as two pieces — one is the actual environment, the tools of empowerment, the mobile phone, a bank account, and an ability to earn money; and then the mental state of empowerment, which is feeling the capacity to forge my path.”
This means that, not only do women need to have the physical means of being able to go to work and support themselves, but they also need to be psychologically empowered to do so.
There are some countries where women can have no problem in finding jobs, in opening bank accounts, in having access to transportation, in owning property, and otherwise having access to means which would make them feel economically empowered and have financial freedom.
However, the psychology and beliefs of people on the subject of women working can be negative. There are people who believe that women should put their families first, and then think about working. And when they do think about working, it should be a menial job which by no means can provide for anyone or anything.
Psychology is also a major issue that stands in the way of women’s economic empowerment which needs to be addressed. It is difficult to change an entire nation’s beliefs, it is difficult to change people’s minds on many things, but if we can prove to more and more people that women being economically empowered and having the same access to working in all fields as men do can greatly advance a nation in all sectors, then perhaps we can change a lot.
Check Out Other Posts Related to The Principles of Women’s Economic Empowerment
- Women In Business Can Be Successful! Meet The Top 10 Of Women-Owned Businesses & Female Entrepreneurs
- Female Entrepreneurs In India Who Are Young & Successful: The List Of Top 6 Business Women
- Important Women In History | 8 Most Influential, Strong & Powerful Women Who Made History