Ways to Empower Girls and Women
Did you know that girls and women make nearly half of the world’s population? And yet we call ours a ‘male-dominated’ society. For generations, we have been living in a world where women are encouraged to suppress their voices. Girls in countless parts of the world are taught to multitask at a young age because they are expected to cook, clean, and serve their families when they grow up. You too may have witnessed the women in your life being burdened with unrealistic expectations, be it inside the four walls of their homes or modern workspaces.
On one hand, we worship girls and women like Goddesses and believe that their existence plays a huge role in society, and on the other, we deny them their fundamental rights of education, hygiene, and safety. If you’re wondering what you could do to help bring about change and empower girls and women, then fret not, here’s a list that seems like a good place to start.
Simple and Effective Ways to Empower Girls and Women
Girls and women are undeniably the backbone of society, and yet they are often left without moral support. Most conservative families, even today, look at the female gender as the weaker one in society. It is believed that unlike men, women are frail and always need support, because of which they are often denied equality in society, professionally as well as personally. And so, to eradicate this misconception, it is vital for girls to understand the importance of empowerment from a young age.
1. Educate and validate the girl child
Women empowerment is simply another word for ‘gender equality’. The first and most important step towards empowering young girls is acknowledging the fact that women and men are equals and nothing less. While there is positive change in various aspects, countless cultures raise girls to believe that they are inferior and have a limited array of opportunities because of their gender. It is therefore important that as reformers, we first focus on how the girl child is being raised mentally and physically.
2. Provide educational platforms to adolescent wives and young mothers
Why restrict empowerment to girls who are young? Yes, educating them from a young age will help create awareness and affect their choices later in life, but let’s not forget about those who did not receive proper guidance when they were young. We all know at least one woman who did not have the opportunity to complete her education because she was married off at the end of her teenage, or before. This is where special education opportunities for adolescent wives and young mothers come in. A woman should never have to depend on anyone. Financial freedom is crucial when she has a child at a young age. It is therefore important for us to pave a path out of the system for these young women by providing them with better opportunities and equipping them for the same.
3. Link survivors of physical and sexual abuse to health services
Even in the 21st century we come across stories of physical abuse and sexual harassment from our female co-employees, friends, and family members. In certain cases, toxic masculinity results in physical abuse too. It is unfortunate that the list of reasons that prevent women from coming forward and seeking help is ever-increasing. Let’s encourage girls and women to value their voice and most importantly, listen. Listen to what they have to say because sometimes, that’s all they need. Making our girls and women feel comfortable to talk and seek help is empowering them in every way.
4. Make public places more comfortable for women
Be it parks, monuments or even busy streets, there are very few places where girls and women can be themselves. This is why there is need for public places that are accommodating of the needs of women. From increasing the number of public washrooms to having parks and gyms exclusively for women, safe spaces like these are the need of the hour. At the same time, it is also important for us to have more female drivers and conductors in public transport buses. Active female involvement in society administration will take us a step closer to creating safe spaces for girls and women.
5. Focus on better healthcare facilities
Better health care facilities for girls and women include support for teenagers undergoing puberty. It is important to make women aware of their rights, options, and choices. Providing them with sanitary products at subsidized prices and educating them on how to use the same is a start. Better healthcare facilities would also include increasing the number of female doctors so that girls and women can feel more comfortable when consulting on any health issue.
6. Provide platforms that amplify the voices of girls and women
Lastly, it is important for girls and women to have a platform to express themselves. Throughout their lives, girls go through physical, emotional, and hormonal changes that can be confusing for them to entirely understand. Interactive and educational platforms that not only listen but also provide support are a great place to start.
Even in this 21st century, girls residing in urban and semi-urban areas are denied their fundamental rights. Women encounter differentiation in most sectors like education, economic opportunities, health and medical assistance, and political participation, which demonstrates that there are substantial gaps between strategy advancements and real exercise at the community level. Educating young minds is a start, and let’s pledge to empower every young girl and woman in our lives. Educating them is empowering them.