Women empowerment is 100% attainable and can be achieved in today’s society. A woman can be empowered educationally, physically, mentally but most importantly she must be empowered economically. Economic empowerment sustains a woman, economic empowerment is the muscle of her empowerment as a whole as well of the backbone of her social functioning.
Economic empowerment is the capacity of women and men to participate in, contribute to and benefit from growth processes in ways that recognise the value of their contributions, respect their dignity and make it possible to negotiate a fairer distribution of the benefits of growth. It is a weapon, a tool and an enemy against poverty as it not only economically benefit the woman but it enhances her thinking skills and stretches her to explore and discover her potential and natural capabilities. In Zimbabwe, economic empowerment for women is seen through income generating projects such as hairdressing, dressmaking, cooking and baking business. These have been mostly enables by nongovernmental organisations such as the Yama Foundation, Musasa Project, The Girl Child Network as well as by government efforts such as the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Economic Transformation (ZIM ASSET). ZIM ASSET has managed to promote women mainly because Zimbabwe Statistics (2015) note that over 65% of the people in small to medium enterprises are women. Women in Zimbabwe have managed to engage in buying and selling as and they have engaged in business ventures, that are vital to economic success on a personal level, nationally and even internationally.
However, women empowerment heavily relies on economic empowerment despite the changes done as women still contribute largely to the world’s poor. Women’s economic empowerment is a prerequisite for sustainable development and for achieving the Millennium Development goals. Is economic empowerment a right? Yes indeed as everyone has the right to food shelter and education and empowerment means access to economic resources and opportunities which include jobs, financial services, services, market information among many others.
Globally, women have fewer opportunities for economic participation than men, less access to basic and higher education, greater health and safety risks and less political representation. The first thing a woman should be empowered in is in the economic aspect. Once a woman is economically empowered, she is empowered in every other aspect of life. She is healthy, for she can afford good maintenance and medication, she is safe because she can afford for a legal representative to stand up for her rights and she is educated because she can further her studies or even start studies if she was not educated.
Economic empowerment for the female specie is the most important step in her empowerment. In a nutshell, Steve Maraboli once said, “the empowered woman is powerful beyond measure and beautiful beyond description”.
By: Tinotenda Katsande