Women Empowerment Is Key

The month of March is sacrosanct since it has been specifically set aside as the International Month of Women, with the big day being the 8th March which is the International Day of Women. The day is a dream come true to many feminists who stood for the recognition and inclusion of women as early as the 18th century but to no avail as many of them died before their dream came to pass. To the women fraternity, the journey is a turning point as it transformed the meaning and societal status of women. The world has also recognized that women have been the missing part of the puzzle needed to realize an egalitarian and just society.

Women Empowerment Is Key

By Wallace K Musakanyi

Indeed, the history of women world over has been written in blood and tears. The patriarchal world order enabled women to be viewed as mere objects and perpetual minors, to add more pain women succumbed to all forms of discrimination and segregation by fellow male counterparts, women stood the test of times.

Whilst the phrase that. “ history will always repeat itself” has been contextualised as a valid hypothesis to justify the reoccurrence of various historical issues in the present day, this has been untrue especially when one juxtaposes the status and position of women in the modern world and society compared with the ancient times.

The journey to women empowerment has been a revolution worth-studying. From the writings of key radical, social, cultural and liberal feminists to the rise of various pressure groups that vigorously lobbied for the inclusion of women in the public affairs and end to a male-dominated patriarchal society.

Women concerns were brought on board by the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in 1966. A series of global legal frameworks have also been crafted as a follow up to the empowerment of women, with the key ones being the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Beijing World Conference on Women (1995) which birthed a fundamental concept that has trended in the academic circles as gender mainstreaming.

All these statutes and policy frameworks catapulted the rise of women in such areas as employment, public and political participation and education and have impacted changing legislation and various policy frameworks that have changed the world for the better. They have enabled and empowerment not to be mere spectators and bench seaters but to be team players in various developmental agendas.

Women have paraded the world stage showcasing and depicting their untapped talents and leadership traits that have been victims of the historical patriarchy. For the first time in history, the highest and esteemed office in one of the major countries in the world, Britain was once occupied by a female, Theresa May, who served her country with distinction as a Prime Minister. Likewise, Germany is under the hands of female President, Chancellor Angela Merkel who has pursued a pacific and diplomatic foreign policy and a stable domestic policy that has accelerated economic growth. Plenty of women have served their respective countries politically with flying colours, ink will run out if I  try to mention them all for they are plenty of them.

The celebrations of International Women’s Day will also be incomplete if the world fails to applaud the efforts of one the veteran feminists Marry Wollestoncraft who rose above waters calling for the capacitation and empowerment of women. In one of her publications, “A Vindication Of The Rights Of Women” she echoed that women should be properly educated or get access to education so that they can be at par intellectually and politically with men. Three centuries after her publication, her writings have gained relevance in the modern world. Plentiful hard-working female academics and high profiled professionals have been bred. From Doctors to Engineers, Pilots to Scientists, not mentioning Lawyers, Bankers above all Entrepreneurs who have managed to turn around world economies.

Across Africa, the hand of women has largely been felt also in the agricultural sector. According to UN Food and Agriculture Program, women farmers in Africa are pillars of African agriculture, over two-thirds of women in Africa are employed in the agricultural sector and produce 90% of food in the continent. In the Zimbabwean context, available statistics show that 70 % of farmers are women making agriculture a women-dominated industry. In addition, a Women's Bank was opened, which offers financial assistance to women and women in agriculture can also utilize this financial institution to take the agricultural sector to another level.

The women empowerment scheme is still work in progress for most countries and a crucial assignment at hand. In Africa countries like Rwanda have managed to relentlessly pursue this drive and have managed to maintain gender equilibrium in the public sector. It is imperative for international organisations, regional and sub-regional groupings to come up with vibrant peer review mechanisms monitoring and assessing the degree covered by member states in promoting gender equality.

On this historic day, government officials, policymakers and other relevant stakeholders must pause for reflection and have a moment of silent meditating and assessing how far they have covered in implementing gender policies that are meant to uplift the social status of women which is the first step towards realizing gender equality. Lastly, women empowerment and meritocracy must also work hand in glove.

Contact Wallace: wallace.musakanyi@gmail.com