Empowerment consists of four dimensions, each equally important but none sufficient by itself to enable women to act on their own behalf. These are the cognitive or critical understanding of one’s reality, the psychological or feeling of self-esteem, the political or awareness of power inequalities and the ability to organize and mobilize and the economic or the capacity to generate independent income (Datta & Kornberg 2002). Educational settings have the potential to foster all four dimensions but require the educational program to be designed explicitly to achieve each of those ends. While the interlocking nature of these dimensions can contribute to making empowerment irreversible, the path to the development of an empowered woman is not easy.
It necessitates persistent interventions in order to break old patterns of low self-worth and dependence, and to foster the construction of new personalities with a realistic understanding of how gender functions in their society. Girls’ access to schooling in many developing countries is so low that the term empowerment has been used to mean mere participation in the formal system. This is problematic because it assumes that the experience and knowledge attained in schooling automatically prepare girls to assess their worth and envisage new possibilities.
To achieve empowerment through education, several concepts must be introduced at appropriate levels. When referring to primary and secondary schooling, empowerment should enable girls to develop the knowledge and skills to nullify and counter sexual stereotypes and conceptions of masculinity and femininity that limit the social potential of women (Parpart, Rai & Staudt 2002). This paper is a proposal to create a research study on education, women empowerment and contemporary challenges.
Aims and objectives
1. Understand the concept of women empowerment.
2. Determine the issues in women empowerment.
3. Know how education contributes to women empowerment.
4. Analyze education, women empowerment and its contemporary challenges.
Empowering girls should mean offering them courses with content that not only attacks current sexual stereotypes but also provides students with alternative visions of an education as a means for empowering women gender-free society. These courses should also provide them with education, not only on the anatomical and physiological aspects and consequences of sex, but also on the social aspects framing sexual relations. Schools engaged in efforts to foster the empowerment of girls should enable them to increase their participation in class, to learn not to be intimidated by boys and to speak their own minds. In that way, girls would be able to explore a more complete range of life options and develop fuller personalities (Cook 2003). An empowering education in the schools would reduce the creation of masculine norms among boys, thus decreasing their desire to be superior to girls, to avoid dealing with emotions, to set themselves as different in nature from girls and to engage in sexual conquests.
This empowering education would have to be sensitive to the age of the students, introducing knowledge and information that is progressively tailored to the increased age of the girls and boys. Students in formal schooling are capable of developing the cognitive and psychological dimensions of empowerment. The other two political and economic will most likely have to wait until they are adults. However, formal schooling can establish the basis for these dimensions. Gender and women’s studies programs have made it possible for students to gain a greater understanding of how gender forces operate in society. These programs have influenced the development and dissemination of new theoretical and methodological approaches dealing with the nature of gender, national development and social change. Further, many of the graduates of these programs have been able to embark on careers that have made a difference in the way gender functions in institutions (Staudt 1997).
Qualitative method will be used in the study. Qualitative method thrives on understanding data through giving emphasis on determining people’s words and actions. Qualitative method has an orientation that it should gather data that can be acquired through quantitative methods. The tasks of understanding and presenting qualitative research can be very demanding and can be compared to the task of understanding statistics. In qualitative research, the researcher creates a natural setting which he/she can use to understand a phenomenon of interest. Even if the focus is on a smaller case, qualitative research usually unearths a very big amount of information from the respondent.
The research will make use of a descriptive research. Descriptive method of research attempts to describe a data that was gathered. Descriptive approach focuses on the questions regarding what things are like, not why they are that way. Descriptive research can be in the form of sociological studies which explains the social structure of a community, the changes that happened to society over the past years and an organization’s operation. A descriptive research deemed as competent creates a notion that the existence of problems would be more difficult to deny.
Cook, RJ (ed.) 2003, Human rights of women: National and
international perspectives, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia.
Datta, R & Kornberg, J 2002, Women in developing countries: Assessing strategies for empowerment, Lynne Rienner, Boulder, CO.
Parpart, JL, Rai, SM & Staudt, K 2002, Rethinking empowerment: Gender and development in a global/local world, Routledge,
Staudt, K (eds.) 1997, Women, international development, and politics: The bureaucratic mire, Temple University Press,
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Topic: Women Empowerment
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