The 21st century is upon us and certainly, it is a time of opportunity for women globally. Over the years, the landscape for women has changed immensely so women today have more to do but so little time to do it. Simply put, with so much happening, it is very much impossible to do it all. Women empowerment simply is the process in which women elaborate and recreate what it is they can be and accomplish, a position that they were previously denied1.
We’ve all heard the phrase, “what a man can do, a woman can do better,” empowering women is powerful and today, it has become a key component to economic growth, political stability and even a strong tool for social transformation. Today, we see a growing concern by world leaders, experts, and scholars all giving their options to this critical endeavor. Like the 44th president of the united states puts it, “there is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women.”
So then, what is happening? Why is women empowerment not happening on a mass scale? Or even if it is happening why are we still having women victimization in today’s time and age?
On January 19, 2019, NAAC youth and College Division took to the streets and proudly participated in the Women’s March in Washington, D.C in an attempt to uplift the voices of all the Black Women. Dozens of NAACP members from the Hampton University, Old Dominion University, Norfolk State University, Morgan State University and more bussed into the Washington, D.C. to join together and ensure that the Black Woman’s agenda was included on the agenda for women’s rights.
Families today are increasingly becoming reliant upon working mothers as the breadwinners and over the past four decades, there have been dramatic changes in how both men and women navigate their workplace responsibilities, family needs, and personal lives. While both economic and social changes have created this new reality, political certitudes have shaped the struggles seen in so many families2.
Could it be that our nation’s lawmakers have failed to enact policies that effectively address today’s world challenges? One of the biggest challenges facing working women today is the lack of policy solutions in part- because most of them are the primary caregivers of the family and over time, the challenges they face at work and at home compound setting them back economically.
NAACP Chapter President, Amari Fennoy, spoke at the Rally following the march alongside D.C. Branch Vice President Rev. Dr. Charlette Stokes Manning. The President highlighted ways in which we can implement real change in each other lives and ways to protect and fight for all women3.
Networks like Black Live Matters have been there and even though the activist group serves a wider interest, much of its campaigns have been based on women. The organization began almost by accident and over the years, it has impacted radical changes4.
Research shows that an approximate $17 trillion could be added to the global economy if women had the same opportunity and access to jobs and income as men. Also, when given the chance to raise their voice, it has been proved that children become much healthier, lives become more stable and societies become more peaceful. Yet, even with this understanding, oppressive cultural traditions, limited access to education and financial services keep them from thriving.
By addressing the long-standing and an ongoing gender disparity in access to benefits; a beef up in family support systems such as the universal child care, paid sick days, paid family and medical leaves, combating unemployment and empowering employees to fight discrimination, the policymakers could substantially improve women live and build economic security.
Promoting security for women and their families can only be done by ensuring that every woman can earn a fair day’s pay. More so, we need to create institutions that support families at their most basic level and not as they imagine them to be.