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The world can be a peaceful and better place when all forms of gender inequality are totally abolished through women empowerment. Empowering women in all spheres of life like their men folks will create an atmosphere for better development in our societies.

For instance, increasing women and girls’ education, will contribute to the higher economic growth and personal development. Research in some part of Africa has shown that, on average, women with secondary education have three fewer children than those with no education at all. Owing to these merits, as well as the imperativeness of ensuring that the rights of women are upheld, the UN has made women empowerment a pertinent part of sustainable development goals.

In order to enhance women empowerment in Africa, there are few practical ways that will aid the restoration of dignity and create educational and economic opportunities for women.

Abolition of Early/Child Marriages

World Bank statistics have stated that approximately 15 million girls worldwide are married off before the age of 18. Early marriage causes not only negative personal development but economic issues in the lives of women as well.

The effect is human rights violations- young girls are disempowered and often abused. Because many drops out of school and are unable to find employment, lack of education and poverty are other effects. Statistics have shown incidents of complications in pregnancy and childbirth, as well as high risks to contracting HIV/AIDS. Child marriage hinders both the personal development and economic empowerment of women, which is why abolishing this practice is, included as part of the sustainable development goals to uphold the human rights of women and girls.

The quest to eradicate child marriages in Africa has gathered momentum, as seen by the work done by Malawian chief Theresa Kachindamoto. The data disclosed by UNICEF states that this Chief in 2016 had annulled over 800 child marriages over a 3-year period in one of the Malawian district near Lake Malawi. The aim was to ensure that children go back to school to get educated, as well as minimize abuse and health risks associated with early child marriage. By doing so, children are ensured to have a better chance of living a healthy life. In order to achieve desired goals, enforceable laws were made, much to the apprehension of traditionalists, and to lobby with the Malawian government to change the marriageable age from 18 to 21.

Different measures were applied to ensure the cultural and economic empowerment of children, especially girls, includes paying their school fees or finding sponsors for them and ensuring that children stay in school through a network of appointed mentors.

Protection of Women Rights

In Africa, there are so many cultures, customs, and traditions that infringe on rights of women and children by subjecting them to abuse, as well as political and economic exclusion. Abolishing those customs in order to give girls a better future has been the work of Malawian gender rights activist Memory Banda, who has been working with the Girls Empowerment Network to stop the prevalence of child marriage and some prejudicing customs. This custom is considered to be sexual initiation by older men on girls to initiate the girls into adulthood. Forceful marriages pose a lot of risks for girls, including contracting HIV/AIDS, falling pregnant and being forced to drop out of school, and developing health complications associated with early pregnancy.

This philanthropist’s work on women empowerment and the Girls Empowerment Network led to an alliance with community leaders in a district in southern Malawi to develop bylaws that penalize men who engage in the practice of child marriage. The advocacy also led traditional authorities to increase the legal marriage age from 18 to 21.

Enlightenment of women via Social Media

The media (social) has evolved from merely being a space for friends to share their lives with each other, to be a space for enlightenment and inclusion. So far, the world has shown slow attitude to change in the views on equal rights for women, social media communities can provide much-needed support as women band together to talk about their issues and institute change in their lives at the grassroots level.

 ‘Female in Nigeria’ Facebook group is an example of such an educative platform. “It’s a safe place for a woman who has something to say” according to its founder Lola Omotola. She started the group after the kidnapping of more than 200 girls from Chibok in northeastern Nigeria in 2015. “When you grow up in a place where a woman’s voice is not even valid, everything reinforces the idea that we’re not good enough,” she claimed as the reason of motivation for starting the group.

The group is adjudged a safe haven for women to share their life experiences and seek advice from each other where they feel necessary. Concerns such as marriage, gender discrimination, and domestic abuse are just some of the experiences shared by women in the group.

Nigerian women find themselves in a society that is slow to change its view on women’s rights and gender discrimination, FIN provides a platform and a voice to women who have been silenced by cultural customs and societal expectations.

Empowerment via Small Businesses

Empowering women through small businesses is a positive strategy which will also benefit all the members of the society by providing jobs and opportunities for franchises. Bee farming in Africa has been one of many prime examples of how small businesses can empower women.

The practice of bee farming in Ethiopia is largely traditional; however, modernizing the sector has had a positive influence in attracting women to the area. Women have also been encouraged to join the sector through assistance in accessing funding and land for their business ventures. Their main source of income has come from selling products, like honey, locally at markets, which accounts for approximately 90% of all sales.

In Kenya, Bee farming has attracted approximately 50% of women. This can be attributed to a high demand for Bee products from the East African nation and affordable access into the sector- farmers don’t need large capital or land to enter into bee farming.

Another good sector is the poultry farming which helps in providing opportunities for empowerment through job creation for women. One of the prime businesses making strides in poultry farming is AKM Glitter Company, formed by businesswoman and head of African Women in Agribusiness chapter in Tanzania, a Graça Machel Trust initiative, Elizabeth Swai.

Elizabeth Swai’s Company specializes in poultry farming and has a number of hatcheries that provide day-old chicks and fresh eggs to market. Through her business, she has created a network of more than 100 farmer groups. In these groups, she provides training and support so that farmers are equipped to start rearing their own chickens. In return, she buys eggs from these farmers and sells them at markets. Many businesses have grown as a result of this collaboration, empowering business owners to sell their own produce.

She stated that her work was her passion and also a huge part of her life. “I wanted to develop a model that could have a positive effect on Africa and to empower our young women and youths in general”.

Living an indelible mark on the lives of rural communities has been one of her biggest motivators. “Their household health and their education are improved through our work, and some of the profits are being used to help develop rural areas so children have clean water, classrooms, toilets, and access to basic facilities.”

Women Empowerment via Technology and Energy

Sequel to fourteen countries across the continent with affordable solar power being funded by African-American singer Akon and Morocco leading the way in solar power with the Ouarzazate Solar Power Station, innovations in technology and energy are gaining momentum across Africa.

 Eunice Ntobedzi, a businesswoman and an innovator in the energy sector has also employed women electrical engineers to support the development of projects in Botswana. She supported the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) movement in the country.

Owing to her company’s prowess, communities that are often unreachable now have reliable and affordable access to power, while increasing the sharing of renewable energy in the Southern African Development Community. With many women having direct access to energy, Eunice believes that there will be significant health improvements. Additionally, by focusing on educating women in the STEM field, which is sought after both on the continent and across the world, women will have better access to educational and economic opportunities. Access to these opportunities will help women lift themselves sustainably out of poverty and in turn help in promoting economic development in their societies and continent at large.

The empowerment and acceptance of women in all spheres of the society are therefore very sacrosanct. This will not only enlighten the women but will go a long way in sustainable development in African societies.

Source: UN Report

 

Argentina made history and took home the Gold Medal of the South American Women’s Championship 2018 for the first time in 70 years. Argentina broke Brazil’s streak of regional titles that began at the 1986 edition of the South American Women’s Championship. Melisa Gretter was named the MVP of the tournament.

Argentina won the 2018 edition of the South American Women’s Championship after defeating Brazil, 65-64 in an emotional and intense Final. It all came down to the final minutes of the game and with 16 seconds to play, Brazil had a 64-62 lead. Debora Gonzalez tied the score at 64 with 13 seconds left and Brazil could not score, Gretter came away with the ball and was sent to the free-throw line after a foul. The Argentine point guard scored one of the two. Brazil couldn’t score from half-court and the Argentines celebrated the historic win.

Colombia stayed with the Bronze Medal after an 83-78 win over Paraguay. Colombia entered the last ten minutes of the game with a comfortable lead, but the Paraguayans started discounting from the difference. Colombia stayed calm and took the win, with Narlyn Mosquera leading the offensive for the host with 25 points.

Venezuela finished the South American Women’s Championship in 5th place following an 85-60 win over Ecuador.

Chile earned 7th place following an 80-70 win over Peru.

Source: www.fiba.basketball.com

Globalisation in the context of women’s economic empowerment reminds me of the modern colloquial term “frenemy” where you are not so sure if someone close to you has good or bad intentions. You cannot completely avoid them and you may actually need them but at the same time, you also know you need to be careful in your interactions due to some bad experiences.  Globalisation has positively shaped women’s work yet it has also arrived with its own patterns that are venomous to the women’s movement itself.

 What is globalization? Friedman (2005) defines globalization as the inexorable integration of markets, transportation systems, and communication systems to a degree never witnessed before – in a way that is enabling corporations, countries, and individuals to reach around the world farther, faster, deeper, and cheaper than ever before, and in a way that is enabling the world to reach into corporations, countries, and individuals farther, faster, deeper, and cheaper than ever before.

To begin with, globalization has meant the proliferation of different technologies all over the world ad this has had a positive effect on working women’s economic participation. The presence of women in the male-dominated sector of technology has increasingly been felt with some of these women becoming successful tech entrepreneurs. Functions such as networking, advocacy, dissemination and exchange of information, and creative e-commerce have also helped women to market their products globally. 

The capitalist nature of globalization has resulted in the removal of economic barriers in the form of the inflow of capital, firms and industrial growth that creates more employment opportunities for women thus enabling them to earn some income. Distance-related work also means more flexibility in location and hours of employment and thus removing some of the constraints facing women.

Globalization has played a huge role in the shifting of perceptions about the working woman from negative to positive. Evidence has also shown that the capitalist drive of globalization has resulted in a greater appreciation of women’s rights. The result has been an increase in the economic participation of women.

Women now, thanks to globalization, have gained better control of their lives and have more power over the choices in their personal lives. Most importantly women now pose greater negotiation power in terms of their reproductive rights. They can choose when to have children and plan their careers more effectively.

However, globalization like all major changes comes with its own pitfalls and does not address all present societal problems.  Many women despite globalization have continued to be excluded from the industrial growth process; with some constituting a large proportion of the non-industrial labour force and this phenomenon is more acute in the developing world.

According to Schwab (2017), the fourth industrial revolution comes with grave concerns as it may create new inequalities and this is true for n women as they may be disadvantaged has also made working conditions for all workers, but especially women, more stressful and demanding. Women have consequently been finding themselves having to upgrade their skills in order to be able to work with new technologies or risk joining the race to the bottom.

Another negative trend that is likely to affect women’s future work is that due to globalization women are becoming more independent due to the resulting changes in family life. According to Kynastone (1996) there now exists a double burden where women now have the struggle to meet demanding chores at home, cooking, cleaning and, crucially, caring for children and at the same time be working in the informal and formal sector to provide for their families. According to Kynastone (1996) Coping with a new baby and caring for children as they grow are never easy demands for anyone living in poverty.

Although migration comes with greater career opportunities for women, sadly migrant from the continent are increasingly victim to trafficking, especially for the purpose of modern slavery and exploitation. Due to the lack of effective international mechanisms that regulate and protect the rights of labour moving across national borders both legal and illegal migrants can fall victim to human rights abuses. The social consequences are also dire as these and women are more than often forced to be separated from their families and children as they are employed abroad.

Globalisation is indeed a double-edged sword for women at work in both the formal and informal sectors hence there is need to continue discussions on the global gender agenda to ensure better working conditions for women.

By Karen Whitney Maturure

 

 

President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi of Egypt on Thursday 30 August, 2018 swore in twenty-one (21) New Provincial Governors, including the First Female Governor from the country’s minority Christian Community; Manal Awad Mikhael.

Manal Mikhael has been appointed governor of the coastal city of Damietta, becoming the first-ever Christian woman to hold such a position, private newspaper al-Masry al-Youm reported.

The 51-year-old woman’s previous post was deputy governor of Giza, home to the world-famous pyramids. Egypt has the largest Christian community in the Middle East, accounting for around 10 per cent of the country’s mostly Muslim population of 95 million. Egypt’s Christians have long complained of persecution and Islamist attacks.

President Al-Sissi, a Muslim, is popular among the country’s Christians, who backed his ouster of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi following Mass Street protests against his divisive rule.

President Al-Sissi has courted the Christian community to an extent unseen for decades, visiting the main Coptic Orthodox cathedral in Cairo on several occasions since he took office in 2014.

In 2016, the parliament, led by President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sissi’s backers, approved a long-awaited law aimed at easing restrictions on building churches.

Source: ABCNews.com

You may be wondering who a scary mom is, and what she looks like; I have wondered the same thing too, that was until I heard a friend say her mom is the scariest person she had ever met. That statement felt like a blow to my chin as I imagined how it felt to have a scary mom. Few hours with Lucy made me deduce the theory that more smart teenage girls are made out of scary moms since they have to devise ways to navigate through their fears. Some of the most priceless gifts every teenage girl seeks from parents especially their mothers, is freedom and trust.

Trusting your teenage daughters is a great way to let them know you understand that they are grown-up and are entitled to a mind of their own. The first time I heard this Phrase, “Love to destruction” the only picture that came to my mind was the relationship some mothers have with their teens.  Sometimes mothers are left in the dilemma of raising their teenage children with the mirror of their own past childhood experiences and these experiences suddenly become the basis for the rules and regulations that guide these children. These rules often create the first gap experienced by parents and their teenagers. This, therefore, becomes a destructive love since it is fiercely guarded by fears.  No teenager wants to relate with a scary mom and as a result, they always watch out for the alarm that indicates you have become one. Since every mother wants to be her daughter’s heroine and best friend then she must watch out for those red signals that can portray her as a scary mom as well as keep their daughters away from them forever.    

Here are 6 signals that show your teenage daughter you are a scary mom: –

  1. Trying to be a Teen: Often times mothers like to act like teens hoping that this will help them get closer to their teenage daughters, but they often forget that opposites attract. Your teen daughters expect you to be the parent and not trying to act like there is a competition to win their hearts. Trying to dress like them, involve in their private discussions with friends or even use slangs that are peculiar to their peers can sometimes become annoying. It is definitely not abnormal to admire their lifestyle but trying to fit into their shoes makes it tight, thereby portraying you as a stalker. Teenage daughters feel embarrassed when mothers try to ask too many questions when they are having discussions with their friends.  The moment you start pushing hard to become a teen, you stop being their loving mom and instead become a scary mom.

 

  1. Playing the Guilt Card: Scary mothers always love to prove to their daughters that they are wrong. They derive so much pleasure in seeing their teenage daughters depressed over a wrong decision they have taken because they think it might help them turn a new leaf, so they do their best to give the young girl more than a thousand reasons why she should be ashamed for taking that wrong step. As a mother playing the guilt card can keep your daughter away from you thereby, leaving her in a position where she always wants to clean up her mess before approaching you. 
  2. Attempting to be the middle woman: Mothers must realize that teenage girls are not requesting for a peacemaker when they tell their moms about their disagreements with friends. Often times, young girls become very emotional over the disagreements they have with their peers and sharing it with someone especially their mothers become the best way to ease the hurt. It is therefore advisable that, mothers become comfortable to just have a girl talk with their daughters without trying to act as advocates for them. Mums must learn that most times all the young girl needs is that you lend her your ears and advise; then call it a day. Let them settle their disputes themselves and quit attempting to be the middle woman. 
  3. Displaying the skills of a Secret Agent: Every great relationship thrives in respecting the privacy of partners involved. Always know that your teenage daughter is entitled to her secrets so let her be. Of course, it is very necessary to offer advice but being a nosey mum can be so annoying to teenage daughters, so watch it and know when to draw the line. Sneaking on her calls, chats, and messages can be very uncomfortable and pestering. It proves to them that you don’t trust their sanity and behavior. Rather than doing this build a strong mutual trust amongst both party and give her the strong reason to let you into her life. Always remember you are her mom and not a secret agent or a spy.  When you begin to display the skills of a secret agent, your little teenage daughter will definitely perceive you as a scary mom. 

  1. Misunderstanding her self-conscious Acts: Looking back at my teen days, I can still recall how displeased I felt whenever my mom laughed at my carriage while am out with my friends. She will always say to me “Cece why do you have to cross your legs that way?” Scary Moms never accept the fact that their teenage daughters just have to be self-conscious around their friends. Whenever they in the midst of their peers expect them to talk differently, laugh differently, eat differently, walk differently and even respond differently to you. A popular saying goes that when you are in Rome, you behave like the Romans so let them behave like teenagers when they are with tens. A scary mom is never comfortable with seeing different sides of her little thirteen-year-old damsel. You just have to admit the fact that it’s normal whenever they are in the midst of peers. Interpreting their self-conscious acts as pretense, timidity, or even Low self-esteem can be very scary. 

Refusing a conversation and always seeking a lecture: Never forget that one of the major differences between a conversation and a lecture is that the former involves a dialogue while the latter involves a monologue.  It is true that mothers are very knowledgeable. They have acquired countless theoretical and practical knowledge, and of course, it is their uttermost desire is to pass down this knowledge to their children especially teenage girls but this must be done with discretion. Teenage daughters especially learn more from conversations, not lectures. Remember no matter how knowledgeable you are as a mother, times and seasons have changed. Your examples thoughts and illustrations might not completely fit into your teen daughter’s real-life experiences. Learn to rather have a conversation instead of a lecture as this will help your little teenage daughter open up more to you. Use less of the word “Listen to me” and use the word “let’s see it this way”, this, of course, involves her in the thinking process and helps her feel more relevant. Remember young ladies tend to read deeper meaning into your words than the literal word said. Scary Moms hardly involve in conversations, they rather give a lecture and remember even your teenage daughter has a voice and needs her questions to be answered.

Teenage daughters are fun to have but it’s a more interesting journey if mothers make themselves available as they should, consciously noting the boundaries and making sure they do not cross the lines as well.

You may love to pause and evaluate yourself: “Am I a scary mom?”

By Splendor Eloke – Young

Being coupled up should not be the end goal of your personal life: Being truly happy, regardless of what your relationship status is, should always be the priority.

In fact, you’ll likely be a whole lot happier single than you would be if you chose to stay in the wrong relationship. Below, relationship experts offer eight convincing reasons why.

  1. Not all relationships are created equally.

Relationship aren’t always mutually fulfilling. If you are deeply unhappy with each other, being on your own is probably the preferable option, said therapist Heather Gray.

“Having a person in your life doesn’t mean you have real love,” she said. “When you lie to yourself and pretend your relationship is something that it isn’t, you’re hurting yourself. That lie is embarrassing and shaming. It can make you feel weak and pathetic when you don’t even believe the story you’re telling. Your truth, even the painful one that this relationship isn’t right for you, frees you of that.”

  1. Confidence and independence are traits honed on your own.

There’s a big difference between being alone and being lonely. When you truly embrace single life, you’ll start to enjoy your own company, said Neely Steinberg, a dating coach and personal image consultant. (Plus, getting to sleep diagonally across the bed is pretty damn blissful.)

“It’s really important to have some time in your life to discover how to be single, how to be alone and how to get validation from yourself instead of from your relationship status,” Steinberg said. “When you’ve had time to explore your independence, you learn to be comfortable in your own skin.”

  1. Time spent in a bad relationship is time wasted finding the right one.

Not sold on the whole “being on your own is actually awesome” argument? Think of it this way, then: You can’t find the love you deserve if you’re giving attention to a dead-end relationship.

“You have to get yourself in the right place to find the person who’s right for you,” Gray said. “That won’t happen when you’re accepting less than you deserve [from the wrong person.]”

  1. Dating around can be fun if you give it a chance.

Swiping right and actually making a real connection — or finding Mr. Wrong and regaling your friends with details from your nightmare date — can be fun, said divorce coach Kira Gould.

“After my own divorce, I wasn’t sure what I wanted in a relationship and I dated all sorts of ‘wrong’ men — and I have to say, I loved it,” Gould told us. “Mind you I wouldn’t enter into a relationship with any of them; I just enjoyed the chance to explore, and ‘try them on’ so to speak.”

  1. Being single gives you the chance to figure out what you want — and absolutely don’t want — in a relationship.

You probably don’t want to date someone just like your ex — so what do you want in your next partner? Being single gives you the rare opportunity to answer that question with a clear mind, Gould said.

“You can’t assume you know what you want. As life changes, so do we, and so do our priorities, desires, and needs,” she said. “Being single in today’s landscape gives us many opportunities to date, and to explore what sorts of qualities we like or dislike in a partner.”

  1. That newfound independence makes you more attractive to potential partners.

Nothing is sexier than a person who can handle their life, said relationship coach Lisa Schmidt.

“Learning to accept and love who you are without a man or woman in your life makes you more desirable to partners,” Schmidt said.

  1. Staying in the wrong relationship is a recipe for sadness.

“There is nothing more painful than to feel lonely while in the same room as the person you’re with,” said Gray.

  1. Because ultimately, relationships don’t guarantee happiness.

Happiness lies within yourself, not in any would-be soulmate, said Steinberg.

“The truth is, a relationship will never bring you happiness if you’re not already happy with who you are and your life,” she said. “The best part of being single is that you get to explore life on your own time and your own terms. You get to figure out what makes you happy in life.”

By Brittany Wong