Women empowerment has been a hot topic lately. From the #MeToo movement to the Women's March, it's clear that women are prepared to win back their deserved power and act on a large scale! Women empowerment is not just about individuals gaining control over their lives. It is also about women coming together as a community to create positive change in the world. Women help other women speak up and empower them by standing up for equality. Gender equality is a basic human right, and it is fundamental to having a peaceful and prosperous world.
II. Definition and Principles
Women’s Empowerment can be defined as the process by which women obtain power and control over their own lives, and the ability to make strategic decisions independently.
There are 5 aspects to women's empowerment: their sense of self-worth; their right to ascertain choices; their right to have access to opportunities and resources; their right to have power over their own lives, within and outside the home; and their ability to influence the direction of social change to create more just social and economic order, both nationally and internationally.
The UN Global Compact and UN Women collaborated to develop the 7 principles of Women's Empowerment, which are to be implemented in the marketplace, workplace, and community. The seven principles are as follows:
Principle 1: Establish high-level corporate leadership for gender equality
Principle 2: Treat all people fairly at work, respecting and supporting non-discrimination and human rights
Principle 3: Ensure the health, wellbeing, and safety of all workers, irrespective of their gender
Principle 4: Promote education, training, and professional development for women
Principle 5: Implement supply chain, marketing, and enterprise development practices that empower women
Principle 6: Advocate for gender equality through community activities
Principle 7: Track and report progress toward gender equality publicly
III. The Impact
There are many ways that women’s empowerment is changing the world. Here are just a few:
Women are speaking out against sexual harassment and assault.
Women are representing political office and winning seats in government.
Women are leading companies and making an impact in the business world.
Women are partaking in women empowerment schemes and movements to empower each other.
Women empowerment is changing the world in a big way. And it's only the beginning.
IV. The Fate of Women’s Rights in Afghanistan
Since taking control of the city of Ghazni on August 12, 2021, just days before entering Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, the Taliban have imposed rights-violating policies that have erected significant barriers to women's and girls' health and education, curtailed freedom of movement, expression, and association, and deprived many of their earned income.
“Afghan women and girls are facing both the collapse of their rights and dreams and risks to their basic survival,” said Halima Kazem-Stojanovic, a core faculty member of SJSU’s Human Rights Institute and a scholar on Afghanistan.
The Taliban has barred women and girls from secondary and higher education, and the curriculum has been changed to emphasise Islamic studies. They control how women should dress, how they should travel, gender segregation in the job, and even the type of cell phones they should have. They use intimidation and inspections to enforce these laws.
Human Rights Watch and SJSU conducted remote interviews with ten women in Ghazni province who worked in education, health care, social services, and business, as well as former pupils. Fear, anxiety, hopelessness, insomnia, and a deep sense of loss and helplessness were all mentioned by most interviewees as severe mental health implications since the Taliban took over.
“The crisis for women and girls in Afghanistan is escalating with no end in sight,” said Heather Barr, associate women’s rights director at Human Rights Watch. “Taliban policies have rapidly turned many women and girls into virtual prisoners in their homes, depriving the country of one of its most precious resources, the skills and talents of the female half of the population.”
V. Future of women’s rights and Hope
Despite, gender equality being of such high importance in creating a flourishing society, women continue to face significant challenges around the world.
They are typically underrepresented in positions of authority and decision-making. They receive unequal pay for equal work. They frequently encounter legal and other obstacles that limit their employment opportunities.
Girls and women are frequently viewed as less valuable than men in developing countries. Instead of allowing them to attend school, they are often forced to do household chores or are married off for a dowry even before they reach adulthood.
Every year, an estimated number of 12 million teenage girls are married off.
While considerable progress has been made in certain parts of the world, far more remains to be accomplished to address the issues of gender inequality.