Empowering All: Leading the Way in Inclusion and Women's Rights
Women's empowerment entails the provision of agency to women, granting them the capacity to exercise control over their own lives. This encompasses the ability to make choices in alignment with their preferences and to actively participate in various spheres of society, including but not limited to employment, politics, and cultural endeavours. It is fundamentally rooted in ensuring equitable opportunities and rights for women, while simultaneously dismantling antiquated notions and stereotypes that may impede their progress or potential.
Inclusion means involving and valuing every individual, regardless of their origins, identities, or unique attributes. It serves as a mechanism for dismantling societal barriers and ensuring impartial treatment, thereby guaranteeing equal access to opportunities, resources, and decision-making processes. It extends beyond the mere presence of diverse individuals, encompassing the imperative of attentively embracing their diverse perspectives and experiences.
Inclusion and women's empowerment are linked together. When women are empowered, it's important to also create inclusive environments that understand and deal with the challenges women face. Inclusion helps women have the same chances as everyone else to take part in society and reach their goals. A society that's inclusive not only facilitates equitable participation for women, enabling them to pursue their dreams, but it also enhances women's empowerment by securing parity in opportunities when universally implemented.
The United Nations says that over 2.7 billion women are legally restricted from having the same choice of jobs as men. Of 189 economies assessed in 2018, 104 economies still have laws preventing women from working in specific jobs, 59 economies have no laws on sexual harassment in the workplace, and in 18 economies, husbands can legally prevent their wives from working.
In today's world, women and girls are victims of various forms of gender-based violence, workplace discrimination, and unequal access to healthcare services. For context, women and girls have a hard time during emergencies and often have fewer rights than men.
However, there are concerted efforts being made by various organizations and advocacy groups to address these issues. These dedicated entities are actively engaged in endeavours aimed at legal reform, data collection, and project support, all of which are geared toward enhancing the well-being of women.
Exemplary Organizations Driving Inclusion and Women's Empowerment
Bina Foundation is a non-profit organization based in Enugu, Nigeria, Bina is dedicated to empowering individuals with disabilities, particularly vulnerable women and girls, by equipping them with skills for economic self-reliance. This organization breaks down barriers and fosters equity in society. Their focus on empowering people with disabilities is rooted in the belief that everyone has untapped potential, regardless of challenges. With a special emphasis on vulnerable women and girls, the foundation aims to elevate marginalized voices and support their journey towards independence.
The Foundation offers free medical assistance through a network of health professionals, provides skill development opportunities in various areas, advocates for improved laws and their implementation, and offers financial support for academic development. Additionally, the foundation promotes social inclusion and economic empowerment through Para sports, such as Blind Football.
In a world that sometimes neglects inclusivity, Bina Foundation shines as an example of tapping into the strength and potential of every individual. Through their efforts, they are shaping, and empowering women, girls, and individuals with disabilities, working towards a future characterized by compassion, justice, and inclusivity.
Society for the Improvement of Rural People (SIRP) is a non-government, non-political national organization committed to working with rural people towards poverty alleviation and their overall empowerment in a sustainable manner through sustained advocacy, training research, project implementation and provision of credit.
SIRP addresses sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) through proper advocacy and sensitization with different rural communities while engaging different stakeholders such as healthcare workers, community leaders, youths and persons with disabilities. SIRP is currently implementing with support from The Girl Generation: "Utilizing Social Change Communication Techniques to end the practice of FGM in Enugu State, Nigeria".
Inclusion breaks down barriers, allowing diverse individuals to contribute actively, while women's empowerment dismantles traditional constraints, enabling informed choices and active participation. These concepts reinforce each other, as inclusion nurtures women's empowerment and vice versa. The ongoing journey toward both ideals necessitates collaborative efforts to challenge biases, transform systems, and create environments where everyone can thrive. Women's empowerment serves to deconstruct long-standing traditional constraints, facilitating the exercise of informed decision-making and fostering active participation in various aspects of life.
As we stand on the threshold of a future that beckons for progress, the synergy between inclusion and women's empowerment stands as a beacon of hope. This harmonious partnership speaks to the strength of unity and shared purpose. By embracing inclusion and advancing women's empowerment, we embark on a transformative journey that not only upholds principles of justice and equality but also forges a path toward a more prosperous and harmonious world. It is in this collective commitment that we unlock the true potential of individuals and societies, creating a legacy of empowerment and possibility for generations to come.
Editor's Note: This essay emerges from the dynamic partnership between Document Women and Civic Hive's Student Leadership Programme, presenting distinctive viewpoints that highlight the potential voices of our upcoming leaders.