Women Economic Empowerment as a Weapon to Eradicate Poverty & Hunger.
The United Nations created Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) also known as global goals with an aim to transform the world by addressing the most urgent problems of the world such as poverty, inequality, Climate change, Environmental degradation, and peace & security. The United Nations’ General Assembly defined the term Sustainable Development to refer Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In Nutshell, Sustainable development is about making the world a better place for the present & future generations. This can only be achieved by ensuring that there is tangible development at individual and/or the community level, which is the basic unit of the whole world.
The main challenge facing several countries in the world is poverty and hunger. These two challenges are inseparable, in that the former causes the latter. Indeed, even the first two sustainable development goals touch on poverty and hunger. They state that; “(1) End poverty in all its forms everywhere and (2) End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”. It is upon this conceptualization that in this article, I argue that empowering women economically at the community level has the impart of improving their social, economic and political status; ensuring that there is zero-hunger at a family level and eradicating poverty making the whole world a better place.
Why Women Economic Empowerment?
Before immersing in the importance of women economic empowerment, it is nay necessary to understand what it means first. A woman is economically empowered when she has the ability to succeed and advance economically and the power to make and act on economic decisions, as well as adequate resources to facilitate the activities involved. Critically, this enables women to participate in, contribute to and benefit from growth processes in ways that recognize the value of their contributions, respect their dignity and make it possible to negotiate a fairer distribution of the benefits of growth.
Women economic empowerment is in a greater way based on the principle of equality, human rights and justice. For long, there has been gender inequalities in the division of labor between paid and unpaid work, as well as profitable and non-profitable work. Women have been engaged in non-profitable unpaid care work within the home making them dependents on men. Therefore, having women engage in activities that enable then sustain themselves and their immediate families is the main goal that ought to be achieved.
Operationalizing Women Economic Empowerment.
As earlier mentioned, being empowered is having the ability to succeed and advance economically and the power to make and act on economic decisions, as well as having adequate resources to work on. To start with, having the ability means and includes having the relevant skills required. Therefore, offering trainings to women & women groups and facilitating education girls and women can in a great extent enable them to acquire skills required.
Equally, that resources are the building blocks for any economic activity to thrive, is axiomatic. Women therefore need to have access to resources as a way of getting empowered. These resources can be required at individual or community level and they include, among others, financial, social, human and physical resources. For any project to succeed, investment of financial resources is a must. All other resources are controlled by the availability of finances/capital. Therefore, after instilling skills to women on economic activities they can engage in, the next thing to offer financial assistance. This can be done through donations, grants and/or loans. The government and other Non-governmental/Charitable organization have a big role to play in funding the projects/activities here. There is also need to provide physical resources such as land whereby the economic activities shall be carried out if required.
There is also need for the government to create legal frameworks and policy structures that favor and encourage women to participate in economic activities. This can be achieved by creating a business-friendly environment such as reducing the amount of money required to get work permits and licenses, and making the tax reasonable so as not to chase them away from taking part in the activities.
Empowering women economically encourage them to participate in activities than earn them income therefore enabling them to have food for themselves and their families, eradicating hunger. These activities also help in eradicating poverty as and increasing livelihood. It is therefore clear that women economic empowerment is like killing two birds with one stone, in that it kills both poverty and hunger!