It wasn’t that long ago when women had to face tremendous barriers when they sought opportunities that would establish them equal to men. If we look back even a quarter century back, we’ll come to the realization that inequality between men and women was widely apparent in the workplace, in university classrooms and even in homes. Since then, the lives of women and girls have undergone drastic improvement in various respects. In most developed countries, a greater number of females are going to school, living longer and better, acquiring legal rights and others and also landing better jobs.
However, a large gender gap still remains in developing or underdeveloped countries. For instance, women empowerment in India is still not a popular concept as people remain entrenched in traditional and religious beliefs. This concept should never be taken lightly. In simple terms, women empowerment entails increasing the social, political and economic strength of women and its only prerequisite is gender equality. Women can be empowered when gender disparities in all classes of education is decreased, women and girls are educated and by decreasing the inequalities between men and women in aspects of social, political and economic life.
Women empowerment has become important because the benefits of this concept aren’t just restricted to women. As Larry Summers put it, ‘When you educate a boy, you educate one individual, when you educate a girl you educate a nation’. There are some social problems and matters that can only be resolved through the participation of women. For instance, problems pertaining to child development, family health, family income and other similar issues cannot be dealt with by men alone. When the problems are resolved, the whole family can benefit from it. Furthermore, women are nurturers of the family so they play an important role in the lives of our future generation.
Empowered women will help in shaping a better and stronger generation for the country. As a matter of fact, empowering women has helped in improving the quality of life for men, women themselves, their families and also the community as a whole. Apart from that, it has also helped developed countries in building stronger economies and achieving internationally agreed goals for sustainability and development. An expert from indianjobalert.com writes, “Developing countries can benefit from women empowerment as economies grow when more women work. A boost in the participation of the female labor force leads to faster economic growth“.
A 1% increase in the number of girls completing secondary education can increase the annual per capita income of the country by 0.3%. This means that if developing and underdeveloped countries educate girls, they can raise themselves out of poverty at a faster rate. Giving women better rights can also benefit households. Evidence has shown that giving women control over household spending, either through cash transfers or their own earnings, changes spending patterns in a way that can be financially useful. Hence, women empowerment is a cornerstone of development because when women are empowered, economies flourish, poverty is reduced and health of mothers and children improve.