What is empowering women?

Women can be empowered by supporting their sense of self-worth, their freedom to make their own decisions, and their right to have an impact on social change for both themselves and other people.

It is intimately related to female emancipation, a fundamental human right to create a more peaceful, wealthy world.

Female empowerment is frequently linked in Western nations to particular historical eras of the women’s rights movement. The suffrage movement typically develops in three waves, with the first wave starting in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The sexual revolution and the position of women in society were part of the second wave of the 1960s. The 1990s are frequently cited as the start of the third wave of feminism.

In recent years, a significant global movement dedicated to empowering women and advocating for their rights has formed and is continuing to progress. The popularity of holidays like International Women’s Empowerment Day is also rising.

But despite significant advancements, prejudice and violence against women and girls persist everywhere.

The state of women’s empowerment around the world

Gender equality is both a fundamental human right and necessary for a peaceful, thriving world.

However, there are still considerable obstacles for women and girls worldwide. Typically, women are underrepresented in positions of authority and decision-making. They are paid differently for doing the same amount of work, and they frequently encounter various work obstacles related to the law.

In developing countries, girls and women are viewed as less valuable than males. They are frequently forced to perform household chores or are married off for a dowry before they reach adulthood rather than being sent to school. Every year, up to 12 million teenage females get married.

While there has been some improvement in some regions of the world, there is still much that needs to be done to address the issues of gender inequality.

Why is it so crucial to empower girls and women?

The well-being and socioeconomic advancement of families, communities, and nations depend on women’s empowerment.

Women can realize their most significant potential when they lead secure, contented, and fruitful lives—raising happier, healthier children and contributing their skills to the workforce. They can also support healthy economies, advance societies, and benefit all of humanity.

Education plays a significant role in this empowerment. Girls who receive an education can, later on, pursue meaningful employment and boost their nation’s economy. With eight years of teaching, they are also four times less likely to marry young, which makes them and their families healthier.

How World Vision promotes women’s empowerment

We think that girls and women who are strong, educated, and empowered can effect change.

Supporting women and girls gives them a chance to stand up for their rights and fight for their communities. Additionally, they can advance socially, which they can pass on to subsequent generations.

This implies that women’s organizations, laws promoting women’s empowerment, and women’s charities can acquire traction and strengthen the global community.

Statement to the Commission on the Status of Women’s 64th Session

Alcohol- and drug-related diseases have drastically spread over the past few decades, and no country is immune to their significant human and financial consequences. Although men appear to have a higher rate of substance use disorders than women, the physical and emotional effects can be more severe in women.

The stigma and discrimination towards female drug users impede effective treatment. On the one hand, they are criticized for using drugs or having an addiction problem and for failing to uphold the gender-related expectations placed on them (double stigma). Stigma impacts people more due to their attempts to deal with these circumstances. Most addiction treatment programs are built on an androcentric premise that does not satisfy the needs of everyone and creates barriers to treatment. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, barely one out of every five people receiving drug abuse treatment are women.

Women have particular problems with substance abuse and addiction that are primarily impacted by sex (biological differences) and gender (differences based on culturally-defined roles for men and women). Studies on substance abuse and addiction problems in women have discovered, among other things,

Most women use drugs differently than males, using lesser amounts of some medications for shorter periods before developing a drug addiction or use disorder.

Because gender perspectives aren’t consistently implemented in drug treatment services, women who attend treatment programs may feel more uneasy and unmotivated because their needs aren’t fully met. They are also more likely to relapse after treatment is over due to a lack of social support and financial issues.

Due to the invisibilization of women’s problematic drug use, women may be more likely to visit the emergency department, pass away from an overdose, or suffer other substance-related effects. Disorders are often discovered much later in the course of drug use and may take longer to treat.

Women who experience gender-based violence are more likely to use drugs.

Due to gender indoctrination and social expectations that women should be in charge of caring for others, events like divorce, losing custody of children, or the death of a partner or child can cause women to turn to drugs or develop other mental health illnesses.

Repressive drug regulations have a disproportionately negative effect on women. For non-violent drug offenses, women are disproportionately imprisoned throughout Europe, Asia, and Latin America. These women frequently live in abject poverty, have no formal education, and have few opportunities in the licit economy. In some instances, women, especially those from ethnic minority communities, are forced to participate in the illicit drug market.

Numerous non-governmental organizations throughout Eurasia have collected evidence of frequent sexual assault and police violence against drug-using women. The mainstreaming of a gender perspective in drug treatment and prevention programs, as well as the development of alternative drug policies founded on gender equality and women’s empowerment, is crucial to addressing the disproportionate effects of repressive drug control policies on women and ensuring the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal number 5.

People with substance use disorder may find it challenging to stop using. Still, women, in particular, may be reluctant to seek treatment out of concern that they will be stigmatized and viewed as deviants for not being able to fulfill the traditional expectations placed on them as wives, mothers, and family nurturers. Additionally, due to potential legal or societal concerns, lack of child care while receiving therapy, and other factors, women face unique structural, social, and personal hurdles to treatment during or after pregnancy. Women in medicine frequently require assistance in managing the demands of work, home care, child care, and other family responsibilities. Still, they often do not get it and must leave treatment. This is not due to a lack of motivation but rather to the intense societal pressure to look after others.

How to Fight for the Rights of Women?

A High-Level Political Forum at the UN, this was the first occasion where advocacy skills for women’s rights, gender equality, and women’s empowerment were ever built. Members of civil society organizations, delegates, and other groups offered helpful experience in a highly interactive session to boost advocacy efforts for improving the lives of women and girls worldwide.

We all began with the same premise: promoting women’s and girls’ rights and dignity requires integrating them into state practices and policies. This idea is not upside-down discrimination, bias, or favoring based on gender. The truth is that, among the most left behind groups, women and girls are among the most marginalized and vulnerable. And it wasn’t until recently that a systematic vocalization of the normalcy of their enslavement began to take place.

In the context of the UN, supporting the mainstreaming of women’s rights is especially necessary given that the targets for 7 of the 17 SDGs did not include gender-specific elements. For instance, SDG 9 (Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation) failed to address this and other gender-related challenges of inclusive industrial development, even though women and girls have historically been excluded from the creation of technological progress. It is also interesting that SDG 16 (Promoting a just, peaceful, and inclusive society) did not mention the well-known devastating effects of conflicts on women. Thus, lobbying for gender mainstreaming is required at the UN and in the broadest range of contexts.

Simple advocacy advice

There are numerous ways to engage in advocacy work in global and local forums to reduce gender inequality. Interventions in formal meetings, hosting events, influencing important publications, presenting studies and other materials to high-level discussions, and face-to-face meetings with delegates from foreign missions are a few. The theme may involve structural, accountability, interconnectedness, discrimination, and more general empowerment and participation issues. Try to be innovative with the chosen tactics, whatever the focus.

Corridor interactions with state delegations and representatives at international and regional conferences can present excellent lobbying chances. Be aware that you may only have a brief window of time to persuade someone to respond to your appeal, or you may have to watch them flee.

As a result, be prepared to use your campaign’s elevator pitch at any time. Dialoguing rather than fighting is often preferable in these situations, and knowing when to strike can be crucial. Additionally, focusing on a few specific but important aspects can be essential to a successful strategy.

For instance, welcome delegates in their own tongue; you might get a friendlier reaction. Additionally, when introducing your cause, use plain language that isn’t hostile and make an effort to adhere to the accepted terminology, meanings, and political context related to your subject. Incorporate the alliance supporting your argument (other relevant states, influential organizations, and distinguished individuals that support it). If possible, conduct a preliminary study to determine the relationship between your cause and the advantages a given state stands to gain from supporting it. Additionally, it is helpful to understand the specific stance and motives of the delegate you are speaking with; aim to connect with them when they are most likely to know what you are saying. Invite them to a follow-up coffee if you think there is a window of opportunity. And lastly, but certainly not least, remember to trade business cards.