Equality and self-realization of women – sounds important but mostly evident. Unfortunately, this is not granted, and women are still disadvantaged in our society. What does this mean? What are the consequences of this? And what can you do to change this? Let’s talk about it.
What do we mean with women empowerment?The term does not simply entail giving more actual power to women. No, there is much more to discuss. Women are disadvantaged in multiple aspects of life. They are facing constant oppression, insufficient chances for education and in the workplace and a subject to prejudice. In current times there is more pressure from society to improve the status of women and promote equality, providing more opportunities for women politically, economically, and culturally. This is what women empowerment is all about. However, the process of this is not as fast or easy as some might hope. It wasn’t too long ago that women weren’t allowed to work or vote without approval of their husband. With this in mind we can see that a lot has already happen. Still, it’s important to keep working in order to reach a point where every mom has the same chances. In Europe and the Western world, we can already start at a higher place. Here it is more about women in leadership positions, a smaller gender-pay-gap, and more. Other countries are still fighting for girls to be able to go to school or get a driver's license. Therefore, it should be in our interest to make it easier for women both in our countries as well as in others.
Disadvantage. No one ever wants to feel disadvantages. But what happens when an entire group of our society structurally and “since forever” is disadvantaged? Looking at the gender-pay-gap – which is a clear indicator for missing equality – we notice what is really happening. Women earn generally less than men doing the same jobs. In Denmark this is about 13%, which is already very high on a global scale. Generally, it can be said that Scandinavian countries are very focused on improving women’s rights and promoting equality. However, even there room for improvement is visible. The way to reach a good job is often harder for women. Reasons are for example the missing opportunities to combine family and work well, as women are still expected to care more for the children. Work life isn’t the only place where this is happening. Politics are inherently unequal. There are more male politicians than female ones. Furthermore, laws and rights are outdated and do not promote women’s rights as much as they could. However, this is not all. Women unfortunately feel inequality already often at home, for example them being a subject to domestic violence more so than men.
Prejudice against women is very present. Many believe women to be less suited for leadership positions or there is still the expectation around that women should stay at home, work less, do groceries, cook, and take care of the kids. Women who decide to prioritize their work are often met with judgment by others. Therefore, the inequality creates an imbalance within society on both political/economically levels but also in everyday life things.
Starting smallWhat can you do to improve and promote equality for women today? Obviously, it is not in your power to make sure that in developing countries suddenly every girl has the same chances to go to school as boys do. However, we can all do small things. Most importantly women empowerment should be a constant topic of discussion. Making people aware is the only way to get the topic on top of agendas and taken seriously by others. So, talk about the issues you are facing, or you see others going through. Whether that’s at your workplace, with your partner, your friends, or your family. The more we talk about specific issues, the better. Another thing you can easily do is supporting organizations which promote women’s rights and equality. Whether you are a woman or a man we can all do our part. Even when there is the word ‘women’ in women empowerment it does not mean that support by men is not wanted and needed. Not only men that are in leadership positions or work in politics, no, every man is useful. Listening to women and their daily experiences and then speaking about them is the first step. Every little thing matters when creating a safer, more equal space for women within our society.
A world where equality is normalThe goal is it to at some point live in a world where issues like a gender-pay-gap or minimal educational opportunities for girls are not something that we need to talk about. A world where it is normal that women and men are completely equal. Where there are no differences in educational opportunities, income, leadership positions, places of power, and so on and so forth. Since we haven’t reached this world yet, the incentive to all do our part in slowly getting there is high. You and I can do our best to get closer to such a world. So that we do not need to worry about our daughters walking alone at night, that parents in developing countries do not need to hope for a boy as a child, that no women has to think about whether to prioritize job or family, and that there is the same chance of a woman becoming president as a man.
Supporting women empowerment should be granted and wanted. We all would profit from such a world and should do our best to make sure future generations have better opportunities and can live without certain fears. Starting small, not giving up, and keep discussing