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Women empowerment can be referred to as, granting of political, social or economic power to women or supporting women to discover and claim their personal power. Empowering women is a global Agenda in this 21st century. Women are being motivated to improve on their individual lives and come to the realization of their capabilities. Many agencies of the UN in their reports have emphasized that gender issues are to be given utmost priority. Now women cannot be asked to wait for equality.
Inequalities between men and women and discrimination against women have been old issues globally. Thus women’s quest for equality with man is a universal phenomenon. Equality on matters of education, employment, inheritance, marriage, politics and recently, in the field of religion is what women yearn for. The quest for equality has led to the formation of several women associations in the world and examples are American Association Of University Women, American Medical Women Association, Association For Women Communications, General Federation Of Women’s Club, Association Of Women Business Owners and locally in Ghana most prominently the Aglo Women’s Association .
There are several ways and means women empowerment can reached. To begin with, there is the need to break the overdependence of women on men. Women can be placed in groups according to their interest of vocation, religion or status. A careful study will help to discover each group’s potential and vocational skills. Afterwards, they can be assisted in their fields of interest and vocation. Women can also be encouraged in personal development. Seminars or public education on personality development may go a long way to help women build on their personal development.
Seminars or public education on personality development may go a long way to help women build on their personal development. Again, banning of certain judicial laws, bye-laws and some cultural practices can help women overcome inequality. Some women have great potentials but due to some laws of the country, the community and religious societies they find themselves in, they are restricted and therefore their potentials hidden. Women empowerment comes with enormous benefits. Economically, empowering women helps to suppress the poverty ratio in developing countries since majority of the poor are women. Socially, the female population will be in a better position to contribute their quota with requisite knowledge, techniques and skills. It also leads to increasing positive self- image and esteem on the part of the empowered woman.
Although women empowerment is firmly gaining grounds, there are still some challenges. One of these challenges is outmoded cultural practices. In these age and era, there are still certain tribes in Ghana with cultural practices which infringe on the rights of women. Examples are the widowhood rights, the trokosi system, branding of old ugly women as witches etc. Most of these tribes buttress the belief that the woman’s preserve is taking care of the home, hence they are not allowed their right to education. Secondly, religion is another major challenge hindering women empowerment. In some religions, women are considered unclean when they are in their menstrual cycle. In some others women are not allowed to mingle with men to the extent that the front rows are always the preserve for men.
For instance, among the Jews, women are not allow to go inside the holy place to pray but rather they are made to pray outside the tent behind the veil. Furthermore sexual harassment is also a hindrance toward achieving women empowerment. Naturally, women are physically weaker as compared to men. This makes them vulnerable and most often leads to their sexual abuse from by men. Some cultural practices such as female mutilation and early marriages also arguments the woes of women and leaves them with no control over their sexual lives. Most women who are sexually abused are often emotionally attached which affects their being.
Without any counseling and support, these women continue to live in fear and lowered self-esteem which invariably affects their thinking and decisions in life. In conclusion, women empowerment leads to the realization of the inner potentials and capabilities of women. Most women need a little push for them to fully recognize their capabilities and dreams. Once they are offered the push, they enlarge their territories and stretch their hands to the amazement of the masses. It’s you and I who has to take up the course to empower women.