Women’s empowerment, and more specifically, women’s economic empowerment, is central to realising women’s rights and gender equality. According to UN Women, women’s empowerment includes “women’s ability to participate equally in existing markets; their access to and control over productive resources, access to decent work, control over their own time, lives and bodies; and increased voice, agency and meaningful participation in economic decision-making at all levels from the household to international institutions.”
That’s a mouthful, but what it boils down to is that investing in women’s empowerment and providing them with opportunities to create economic independence sets a direct path towards gender equality, poverty eradication, and inclusive economic independence and growth at all levels. We’ve mentioned before[CB1] that studies show when women are empowered, families thrive, communities are safer, and economies grow.
Although significant strides have been made in women’s empowerment and promoting women’s rights, girls and women continue to face substantial challenges worldwide, especially in countries such as South Africa. Women are underrepresented in power and decision-making roles, they receive unequal pay for equal work, and they often face significant barriers that affect their opportunities at work. However, it has been proven that companies benefit from “increasing employment and leadership opportunities for women”, which in turn increases organisational effectiveness and growth.
Women’s empowerment is closely aligned with female empowerment, which relates to feminism and the women’s rights movement throughout history. Female empowerment is currently split into the three waves of feminism; from the late 19th and early 20th-century first wave feminism to the second wave feminists of the 1960s’ sexual revolution and finally to modern-day third wave feminism. In contrast, women’s empowerment is the overarching process of empowering women.
By giving women the guidance, opportunities, and encouragement to become entrepreneurs, along with the training and tools to start their own businesses, Zhauns aims to be a partner in women’s empowerment and create economic independence for entrepreneurs, paving the road towards gender equality.
[CB1]Link to Women Entrepreneurs in SA article