Women empowerment and culture

Women empowerment has its efforts deliberately and collaboratively focusing on women –their dreams, their capabilities, their beliefs, and their experiences with the relationships and institutions that shape their lives. Women Empowerment especially in Africa – specifically sub-Saharan African that I come from where culture is still at the heart and is the central pillar that affects change, requires a more serious and honest effort to understand and support the challenge with change among the men who are so integral to their lives. Therefore do you agree or disagree? And if you disagree please support your opinion.

Relevant Tags:

Socio-cultural
  • Tonny Okello

    Thanks everyone for contributing towards this topic, am so challenged with the different approaches each one of us here had contributed. That said, we all agree that rudimentary cultures, outdated norms and beliefs are still the epic center for hindering women economic empowerment especially in the sub-Saharan Africa and world over. At the same time we all suggest this can be changed to create a big impact on girls/WEE through educating the society not only to learn how to write and read but to attain skills, knowledge and above acquire the information that can/will enable them transfer this knowledge and skills learnt from school. And so happy at the same time that each one of you/us here is committed to bringing this change about. Change is me, change is you and change is us!

  • Tonny Okello

    Thanks everyone for contributing towards this topic, am so challenged with the different approaches each one of us here had contributed. That said, we all agree that rudimentary cultures, outdated norms and beliefs are still the epic center for hindering women economic empowerment especially in the sub-Saharan Africa and world over. At the same time we all suggest this can be changed to create a big impact on girls/WEE through educating the society not only to learn how to write and read but to attain skills, knowledge and above acquire the information that can/will enable them transfer this knowledge and skills learnt from school. And so happy at the same time that each one of you/us here is committed to bringing this change about. Change is me, change is you and change is us!

  • Stella Bakibinga

    Thanks Tazeen for raising these additional questions. Education is known and proven tombe a powerful tool in changing people's mindsets. With and educated society, people are able to differentiate between the cultural norms, values and beliefs that are to their disadvantage. It is therefore important the we ensure that culturally conservative societies get opportunities to an education.

  • Tazeen Dhanani

    Hi all, I wanted to follow up on this thread because I attended a terrific panel event at the Brookings Institute today on the topic: "Challenges for Women and Girls in Asia: Why Have Some Countries Progressed Better than Others?" The panelists discussed cultural context, and how culture impacts women's rights. It got me thinking about my own culture, and I want to see what others' thoughts are on this: in a conservative, traditional, paternalistic, and patriarchal society, such as in Pakistan (where my family is from), how we do change mindsets and incentivize men to create a more egalitarian society? Rhetoric aside, how do we actually get them to see that women are and should be on an equal level? I spoke with one of the panelists after the event, and she reminded me that my generation is more open-minded and willing to see others as equals...does that mean we need to wait for the older generations to pass away before real, substantive change can be made in terms of mindsets and cultural shifts?

  • Swati Vempati

    As we had shared in another discussion, I agree with you that men have to be an integral part of the conversations around gender equality and women empowerment because it will impact their lives also. 

  • Swati Vempati

    hahaha...now this is a fun discussion!

    So here's in hindi: मैं औरत हूँ (Maiṁ aurata hūm̐)

    and my telugu (my mother tongue): నేను​ స్త్రీ (Nēnu Strī )

    
     
  • Tazeen Dhanani

    I definitely agree. Without involving men, we are placing the burden of responsibility solely on women, and vice versa, if we didn't involve women, the onus would be on the men. We need to support each other and bring our own unique viewpoints to the table. Men need to partake in women's empowerment; we want to hear their voices and their opinions, especially so that we can see their side of the story and work together to counter any beliefs that hinder economic empowerment for all. Culture can be a huge roadblock if it's used in the name of continuing and perpetuating practices that impede economic empowerment. On the other hand, it can serve as a building block so that we can take what's been done in the past, tweak it to suit our needs in the 21st century, and strengthen our systems and practices going forward. 

  • Michel Choto

    I am of the same opinion that inorder for WEE to take place in marginalised communities, we need to involve the kry people for example the support structure i.e husbands, brothers and more importantly the community and religious leaders. Change cannot happen if we do include the key people to lead the change. There needs to be a mindset shift or an education rather of what WEE is. If men really understood what it is all about, am sure they will be in support. People resist what they do not understand, and embrace more of what they understand.

  • Tonny Okello

    Thank you Sabin Muzaffar, Catherine Nyoike and Sara Davaasambuu for all your contributions and i completely agree with each one of you.Additionally, let me put forward my agreement and say; 

    Therefore if we must understand the complexities of male-female relations, we need to consider the following 3 yet important points;

    1. Include thorough analyze of power and gender.
    2. Train and support men to learn about gender equity and how to engage it at all levels.
    3. This requires that we reflect on our own values, biases, blind spots and fears surrounding gender, power and sexuality.

      Taking men seriously as central players in gender transformation, and investing time in facilitating their opening to more gender equitable identities and competencies.

    1. Remain sensitive and aware of key relationships that influence women’s choices.
    2. Explicitly include strategies and resources for working with women’s empowerment and masculinities in program design and planning – empowerment cannot be an add-on.
    3. Develop and support male role models and allies for gender equity through groups, trainings and broader rights movements.
    4. Do not limit men’s role to either perpetrator of injustice or a vehicle for “women’s empowerment” rather than as fully engaged champions for social change for gender justice. We have missed many opportunities to fully engage men as champions for social change, including acknowledging men’s stories of survival, witness, as a “first responder” to gender discrimination and violence. 

    Creating valuable entry points and safe staging grounds for men and women to grow into change through;

    1. Harness non-threatening entry points to bring men and women together in a shared space to collaborate toward a common goal and to serve as a platform for fostering conversations on gender and power.
    2. Prepare women with the space, skills training and support to enter mixed-gender initiatives as equal members with equal responsibilities.

    if we can all come out and support this cause then we are here to achieve our goal.

  • Sara Davaasambuu

    Yes, I agree with you 100% Tonny. Men should be involved in women empowerment. If we do not include men, educate them about equality, health, well-being of their families then empowering women will be just empty talks. Therefore, the empowerment will depend on men's involvement in my opinion. 

  • Catherine Nyoike

    In the family, the role of men includes being good providers, protectors, leaders and teachers. If these roles were adequately taken up by men then most of the challenges our communities face would be non existent.

    As leaders, what initiatives are men taking to ensure there is peace and harmony in their homes? As teachers, what are the men teaching their children? are they leading by example? As protectors, how safe are the women and children around them?  

    I agree, sustainable change in our communities will not take place without involving men.

  • Sabin Muzaffar

    This is a very important question. Although I do believe culture plays a critical role in fashioning the mindset of societies, I do wonder whether it is the subjective perceptions that individuals bring to culture itself that transforms it into something more negative, ritualistic and conservative. Women are marginalized in under developed, poverty stricken or conflict ridden regions - where the 'weak' meaning women and children suffer the brunt of patriarchy, gender violence and what have you.  Yes if we want to empower women and therefore create an equitable society, we need men to be onboard. So it's not only a question about educating and raising women's awareness but also that of men. We need to make them see why it is critical to empower women.

12 of 12 comments