Break the Bias: Empower Women

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March 10, 2022

Writers: Aiah Osano, Marie Nicole Ingrid Lusterio, Allana  Marie Manguerra, and Nel Fortes
Researcher: Nel Fortes
Editor: Alvin Joseph Mapoy
Graphics: Sarah Mondoy, Jacklyn Moral, Krystle Mae Labio 
Tweet Chat Moderators: Christine Joy Salva Cruz, Ella Mae Vargas Militante, Llyssa Jane Fincale, Mina Opada
Spaces Moderator: Alvin Joseph Mapoy

 

Empowerment entails having control over one’s own life and having equal access to society. Women’s empowerment, also known as female empowerment, refers to how women gain influence and equal opportunity to pursue personal, social, and economic endeavors, participating in all aspects of society on an equal footing with men (Finca, 2022).

Many countries have already taken steps to increase women’s empowerment through various organizations and programs (Santoso, 2019; UN Women, 2021; UNESCAP, 2015; OECD, 2020; World Bank Group, 2018). However, the Philippines still has room for improvement to provide women with equal opportunities as men. 

Women Empowerment in the Philippines

Despite remaining one of the top ten countries globally in terms of gender equality (World Economic Forum, 2021; Philippines News Agency, 2021), the Philippines still faces new challenges. Poverty and vulnerability among rural and indigenous women continue to be a significant concern. Every day, 11 women die because of pregnancy and childbirth complications, and many women continue to lack access to productive employment (Tripti Sinha, 2017).

For the last decades, women have suffered gender inequality as society saw them as weak, vulnerable, and inferior in every aspect of living. Thousands of women had experienced this kind of discrimination as a society, even culture dictates their place and role in our community (Ramadan, 2021). This existence of underestimation among the women created barriers for them to exercise liberation and parity as gender-assigned roles were already circulated in early times. 

Helping Women Empowerment

Education is a priority in helping women empowerment (UNFPA, 1994). Despite progress toward gender equality in education, women continue to outnumber men in the out-of-school population. In the developing world, approximately one-quarter of women do not attend school. Families with limited resources who cannot afford school fees, uniforms, and supplies for all of their children will typically prioritize education for their sons. Families may also rely on women’s labor for housework, water carrying, and childcare, leaving little time for schooling. Giving women equal opportunity to prioritize education yields one of the best returns on investment for the developing world (Peace Corps, n.d.).

In addition, globalization occurs as the revolution circumnavigates the world to spread its message to address this societal dilemma in every country. In achieving gender equality, it is necessary to include the woman’s self-worth, decision-making power, access to opportunities and resources, power and control over her life inside and outside the home, and ability to effect change. To close the gaps of injustice between genders, the following principles are the product of collaboration between the UN Global Compact and UN Women as essential aspects in empowering gender sensitivity and equality (World Vision, n.d.). 

Principle 1: Create high-level corporate leadership for gender equality

Principle 2: Treat all people fairly at work, respecting and supporting non-discrimination and human rights

Principle 3: Ensure the health, well-being, and safety of all workers, whether male or female

Principle 4: Promote education, training, and professional development for women

Principle 5: Implement supply chain, marketing practices, and enterprise development that empower women

Principle 6: Champion equality through community initiatives and advocacy

Principle 7: Measure and report publicly on progress to create gender equality

Women have their own ways to perceive the self and this world. A great understanding of apprehension of truth and recognition of knowledge is important (Belenky et al., 1988, as cited in Ferris State University, n.d.)

As we continue to empower women, it is important to understand the psyche of women. These are some important concepts that we need to understand to empower a woman’s voice in society:

Silence: The Voiceless

This non-verbal communication is an indication of an absence of thought or reflection. Women who felt the disconnection from the knowledge, the source of the knowledge, and the relationship to knowledge. 

Received Knowledge: The Following Of Voice

Treating the absorption of knowledge is like a sponge. Women learn through listening to their friends and authority (e.g. husband), which they understand enough to obey and trust that knowledge. 

Subjective Knowledge: The Inner Voice 

Women already start the quest for themselves as they listen to their inner thoughts. With their own maternal intuition, they start to believe and depend on themselves to attain knowledge and obtain the truth. 

Procedural Knowledge: The Voice Of Reason 

With the systematic procedures, women keep learning in a formal system of acquiring knowledge while investigating for the truth. Procedural knowledge has two elements: 

Connected Knowing – on the basis of empathy as women try to understand other people while forming better ideas. 

Separate Knowing – in rationalizing the ideas, women keep aside their emotions and feelings while creating ideas. 

Constructed Knowledge: The Integration Of Voices

Through the development of their narrative sense of self, women can construct knowledge. Because of the capability to reflect and accept themselves, they appreciate and value their systems of knowledge and truth.

Through this, women are gradually empowered to emphasize their importance and involvement in realizing the progressive world. The Woman, Culture, and Development is a new approach as a model of empowering women. With its lens providing a better vision of women’s capacity and equality, the values and systems have unique ways of imagining humanity as united and progressive (Chua et al., 2010).

In this era of social media, it’s easy to fall into the comparison trap, whereas what we see is only a part of a person’s life.  Women are not indifferent to this comparison trap. Even at work, in school, or at home, we often find women competing against other women through internalized sexism. (Bearman et al., 2009; Bearman & Amrheim, 2013; Harvard Business Review, 2021). We think that putting women down will make us superior, but in fact, it’s the opposite. By participating in the same behaviors dictating women’s place in society, women unconsciously subject others to the same beliefs placed on them and can affect relationships between them (Einhorn, 2021). Discrimination also perpetuates even more discrimination in society as women do not realize their potential. (Szymanski, et al., 2009). Being conscious of one’s own hidden biases against women and fostering a supportive environment may help break this cycle.

Women empowerment supports every woman across the world despite one’s race, culture, size, preference, and gender. It is being there for another girl especially when they need help even if they’re complete strangers. It encourages women to be the best version of themselves even if they think it’s not possible. A simple compliment will make another woman’s day. Women empowerment is looking out for each other. 

As with men, they all come from a woman. Gone were those days when women were just meant to stay at home with the kids. There are a lot of husbands now and it does not make any difference. We respect men, especially the fathers who worked so hard to give us a comfortable life. But women like our mothers are also powerful as they bore us for nine months, endured all the pain in labor and the sleepless nights to watch over us. We are all equal. 

Being each other’s safe space is an open-ground place for every one of us to be ourselves without receiving belittling and hate. Women empowerment is a promise and a love that every woman deserves. A promise of acknowledgment of women’s power and acknowledgment of every woman’s right to be respected and be understood. 

“Here’s to strong women! May we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.” – Michelle Obama

Let’s talk about women empowerment this March 10 at 7:00 pm on #UsapTayo’s tweetchat and 8:00 pm on Twitter Spaces. Tara #UsapTayo with your regular #UsapKada!

Guide Questions:

  1. How do you practice empowering women around you? 
  2. What steps are you taking to achieve gender equality?
  3. How do we empower women in our families, workplaces, schools, and communities?

 

References:

Bearman, S., & Amrhein, M. (2013). Girls, Women, and Internalized Sexism. Internalized Oppression. https://doi.org/10.1891/9780826199263.0008

Bearman, S., Korobov, N., & Thorne, A. (2009). THE FABRIC OF INTERNALIZED SEXISM. Journal of Integrated Social Sciences, 1(1), 10–47.  https://jiss.org/documents/volume_1/issue_1/JISS_2009_1-1_10-47_Fabric_of_Internalized_Sexism.pdf

Chua, P., Bhavnani, K. K., & Foran, J. (2000). Women, culture, development: a new paradigm for development studies? Ethnic and Racial Studies, 23(5), 820–841. https://doi.org/10.1080/01419870050110913

Crismundo, K. (2021, March 31). PH ranks 17th in Global Gender Gap Report, 2nd in APAC. Philippine News Agency. Retrieved March 3, 2022, from https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1135541

Einhorn, S. (2021). From a woman’s point of view. How internalized misogyny affects relationships between women. Group Analysis, 54(4), 481–498. https://doi.org/10.1177/05333164211038310

Global Issues: Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment. (n.d.). Peace Corps. Retrieved February 25, 2022, from https://www.peacecorps.gov/educators/resources/global-issues-gender-equality-and-womens-empowerment/?fbclid=IwAR0upC9s1ozqafCbR95t_H84f6QRSrb4rtx_y7ftjJJNNP3mwpM0qrHqXh4

It’s Time to Break the Cycle of Female Rivalry. (2021, October 11). Harvard Business Review. Retrieved January 3, 2022, from 

https://hbr.org/2020/04/its-time-to-break-the-cycle-of-female-rivalry

OECD. (2020). Aid Focussed on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: A snapshot of current funding and trends over time in support of the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. https://www.oecd.org/development/gender-development/Aid-Focussed-on-Gender-Equality-and-Women-s-Empowerment-2020.pdf

Ramadan, R. (2021, June 17). “The root cause of gender inequality is the role society assigns to women.” Sustainable Development News: ID4D. Retrieved February 25, 2022, from https://ideas4development.org/en/role-women-gender-inequality/

Santoso, M. (2019, June 27). Women’s Empowerment in Developing Countries. The Borgen Project. Retrieved March 3, 2022, from https://borgenproject.org/womens-empowerment-in-developing-countries/

Sinha, T. (2019, November 20). Women’s Empowerment in the Philippines Needs Improvement. The Borgen Project. Retrieved February 25, 2022, from https://borgenproject.org/womens-empowerment-in-the-philippines/?fbclid=IwAR1GMiL0IdHWE3CKok5sqtIFu5i0L9VM6StVOouosblPnv9G8GrvefppwPA

Summary of Women’s Way of Knowing. (n.d.). University of Tennessee Health Science Center. Retrieved February 26, 2022, from https://uthsc.edu/tlc/documents/womenswaysofknowing.pdf

Szymanski, D. M., Gupta, A., Carr, E. R., & Stewart, D. (2009). Internalized Misogyny as a Moderator of the Link between Sexist Events and Women’s Psychological Distress. Sex Roles, 61(1–2), 101–109. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-009-9611-y

UN Women. (2021). UN Women Highlights from 2020–2021. https://annualreport.unwomen.org/en/2021

UNESCAP. (2015). Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Asia and the Pacific. United Nations, Bangkok. https://www.unescap.org/sites/default/files/publications/B20%20Gender%20Equality%20Report%20v10-3-E.pdf

UNFPA. (1994). Issue 7: Women Empowerment. United Nations Population Fund. Retrieved February 26, 2022, from https://www.unfpa.org/resources/issue-7-women-empowerment?fbclid=IwAR0eAgwtqX9y9eseI7hO9d9COZTMUCuOmRNHLgAH2Khwa7pQ69KxVCbCKJI

Women’s Empowerment. (2021, August 17). FINCA International (n.d.). Retrieved February 26, 2022, from https://finca.org/our-impact/community-transformation/women-empowerment/

Womens Empowerment – Facts, Stories and How To Help | World Vision Australia. (n.d.). World Vision. Retrieved February 25, 2022, from https://www.worldvision.com.au/womens-empowerment/?fbclid=IwAR0fSaIrhMAGjFLYnSR4–9bB_lHctrbkXKID4ZncLX6DerLuiWpomriPHQ

World Bank Group. (2018, April 2). Many Governments Take Steps to Improve Women’s Economic Inclusion, Although Legal Barriers Remain Widespread. World Bank. Retrieved March 3, 2022, from https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2018/03/29/many-governments-take-steps-to-improve-womens-economic-inclusion-although-legal-barriers-remain-widespread

World Economic Forum. (2021, March). Global Gender Gap Report 2021. https://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GGGR_2021.pdf

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