The world today has allowed women to hold other positions apart from their traditional roles which are being temporarily pushed aside. Temporary because traditional roles and family responsibilities can never be ignored or eliminated and it is this responsibility that women need to be empowered to encourage and give them the confidence to venture out and earn income to meet the demands of everyday life. The 20th century has become familiar with gender equality and more women and girls are stepping out of their traditional roles and embracing success despite facing economic, social, cultural and educational issues.
This essay will discuss the issue of empowering women as a strategy used to help women and investment in education as the driving forces of overcoming problems and help forge a better future. Firstly, in our environment today we see more women stepping out of their traditional roles to work regardless of low or high paid income. The disadvantage on the economical level they face is the power of wealth where unnecessary spending does not allow for savings for the future. Women tend to give in to husbands demands and with peer pressure want for luxury items far beyond their affordability. For instance, our environment can influence the way we spend especially wanting what others have, for example, purchasing a vehicle can exhaust funds and create debt and borrowing. Economically this slows the growth of the economy and encourages poverty within families and the community.
Secondly, the social disadvantage women face as they begin to take up higher responsibilities and thus, decision making within their household and at work encourages them to stand for their rights on any issues they face. This can lead to many social problems as they are exposed to many lifestyles such as the way they dress, attitudes and behavior changes. These changes can result to problems within the household and the community which leads to violence within families and between husband and wives or women and the community. In Bagdad, Afghanistan women who sought work in town are changing the way they dress from wearing their cultural wear, burqa (clothes that cover most of their entire body) to wearing short skirts and blouses to work. This has angered some husbands and in February 21st Pritka Singh’s husband killed her for bringing shame into the family as a mother. (Fiji Times, March 4 2013 p.19)
Lastly, in most Pacific Island countries and some places within the Asian and Middle East countries, women’s role is to stay at home and look after the families while the husbands earn income to support the family financially. But as women begin to shift roles and work to earn an income, most women begin to spend most of their time at work rather than at home. For this reason most families system begins to breakup as children are left to care for themselves and the upbringing by their caretakers are under supervised can lead children to poor health. Also, divorce and broken homes happen when mothers and fathers spend time away from each other and reconciliation is beyond repair. (Personal communication Priscilla Tongi)
However, even though the disadvantages are discouraging I feel that these problems can be fixed and overcome as strategies of empowering of women begin to take place. In the past, women were not allowed to stand up among men to participate in decision making but the 20th century has allowed this and why empowering of women has made a positive impact on women so far.
Firstly, the advantage of empowering women to do more and engage in formal work possibility leads to economic growth. A study shows that women in Australia who held positions as board directors significantly had higher financial returns, including 53 percent higher returns on equity, 24 percent higher returns on sales and 67 percent higher returns on invested capital (www.wikipedia.org). This shows that female workers use strategies that communicate well with their employees to motivate them to perform well within the environment they work in.
Secondly, the mentalities of men as the superior of both genders begin to change as women become empowered and begin to take up responsibilities similar to men. Here women have the confidence and courage to make decisions within their household, workplaces and the society as a whole. They rise from fear of being teased, mocked, seen as worthless and not important and begin to take part in important discussions with males to help their families and communities. (www.ifad.org) This social advantage helps in confirming fundamental rights of women.
Finally, Education is an important element to any development within a society and without proper education poverty emerges. Through empowering of women, this strategy has encouraged more women to attend school and given the same opportunities as the male. Universities and other formal education enhances understanding on different fields like health, economics, politics etc to help them make good decisions within their families and society.(www.ifd.org) For example in Honiara at the Anglican Satellite church at Burns Creek , Literacy classes for the rural uneducated mothers are held twice a week to help them to read and write .
Hence, confidence in attending community meetings and sharing in decision makings with the community become easy. Investment in education should be a priority to assist women become good role models and with educational achievements of women are more likely to be looked upon as setting good examples. (personal communication Shirley Nokia)
Based on the evidence presented in this essay, empowerment of women is a positive strategy which encourages women, whereas in the past, little was done to allow women to step out from their traditional roles and into higher positions. Although the disadvantages hinder women through economical, social and educational issues, the advantages are more promising and through investment in education especially, women and girls can have a better future and make a better world for all.
Courtney from Study Moose
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