What is women empowerment and why do women need to be empowered? Is an empowered woman an asset or a threat?
June had always been a jovial girl. She loved life. A twinkle comes to my eyes when I remember how much fun we had together as students. We loved watching movies and site seeing and we definitely enjoyed our youth. I got married a few months after graduation.
We did keep in touch and met once in a while but our meetings were far apart. She had a good job with an international organization and she seemed to be living the life.
We met after a period of around 6 months of not meeting and June broke the news to me that she was pregnant! She had not introduced me to anyone as a serious boyfriend so definitely it was a big surprise. That was not all; she dropped the bombshell; she and Andrew were already living together in a come-we-stay relationship….
June gradually went out of circulation and we rarely met. We could meet once or twice a year and she was always in a hurry. She gradually become a different June from the one I had known for years.
I remember one day when she called me and said that we needed to meet and it was urgent. We met in Nairobi as agreed. We bought some snacks at the supermarket and went to sit at a park. June started talking as soon as we sat down on the well trimmed grass.
June’s husband was the first born and the only male child in the family. His mother controlled him, made unrealistic demands on him endlessly. June’s family was forever in financial crisis, even though both her husband and herself had good jobs.
I do meet with a lot of resistance when I talk about women empowerment, and more so from the men. I have asked a number of men why they view women empowerment in a negative light and the answer is always something to do with an empowered woman becoming proud and not submissive.
Women and girls make up half the world’s population and 70% of the 1 billion poorest people are female. Women work two-thirds of the world’s working hours, produce half of the world’s food, but earn only 10% of the world’s income and own less than one percent of the world’s property. On average, women earn half of what men earn.
Is empowering women to bring them at par with their male counterparts in terms of earnings a positive or negative thing? Do families stand to gain if every member of the family is compensated fairly for their labour?
My mother was empowered. She worked as a teacher for 37 years, until she retired. She also had multiple streams of income, thanks to her side businesses. Today, she is in her 80s and widowed. She is financially ok.
This article is written by Susan Catherine Keter; life coach, personal development mentor, freelancer and blogger