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Women empowerment

By Marilyn C. Arayata

EMPOWERMENT has different meanings depending on where the definition comes. Basically, an empowered individual, particularly a woman has a certain degree of control as far as her life is concerned. The American Psychological Association and the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues define a psychosocial approach to empowerment as one that “promotes (rural) women’s and girls’ recognition and development of their human rights and theirstrengths, and provides resources and skills.”

Knowledge of said rights, strengths, resources, and skills is very important. Abuses against the female members of society are proliferated because they are conditioned to think that they are “weak.” It’s not enough that they are encouraged to report any form of violence against them. Abuses of all forms can be prevented if women and girls are given adequate education. Empower them by reminding them of their rights and teaching them how to have some degree of control over their lives. Involve them in planning and in decision-making. Their opinions matter. Give them opportunities that will make them confident, connected, and productive. Give them opportunities that will help them reap economic benefits.

We are not only talking of women empowerment in the workplace, in educational institutions, and in the branches of government. Like all concepts, it must begin at home.

What do we teach women and girls, including those with disabilities? How do we treat them? Do they feel included, valued, and respected? Are there jokes and policies that suggest inferiority to their male counterpart? Do we give them adequate opportunities to learn, to lead, and to earn?

“There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women,” says Kofi Anan. It takes empowered women to raise empowered children who will someday build an empowered nation.

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