GENDER EQUALITY

Empowering women can help reduce extreme poverty

Change is needed on many levels, and both men and women must be involved for it to happen

In Summary

• The social norms that limit women's opportunities need to be understood and then changed.

• Research and development organisations need to invest in programmes that promote gender equality alongside improving productivity and income. 

Gender Equality
Gender Equality
Image: STAR ILLUSTRATED:

Gender inequality doesn't make sense on any level.

By marginalising women, we deny ourselves the opportunity to lift millions of men, women and children out of poverty. Not to mention the chance of a just and fair world.

From birth, girls, boys, women and men are expected by society to play certain roles and behave in certain ways, based on traditions, religion, and other beliefs.

These behaviours are learned and shaped by the gender norms in a society.

Unfortunately, in many countries, gender norms create disadvantages for women.

Often, girls are not sent to school and when they become women, they then have limited ability to earn money, or realise their potential. 

Rural women play a major role in agricultural development. However, in many developing countries, women cannot formally own land.

Without land, they cannot get loans to invest in their farms or businesses. This also means they have no control over the use of land or the benefits that come from it.

Men generally control the household decisions on how to use the family's assets, these disadvantages are often reinforced by practices that limit women's access to services like training.

Cultural beliefs can also restrict women's opportunities. The results of these issues make women remain poor and agricultural production cannot reach its potential, perpetuating poverty and hunger in the developing world.

The social norms that limit women's opportunities need to be understood and then changed.

By taking a gender transformative approach, we can influence social norms, and bridge the gaps in access to resources and services between men and women in a lasting manner.

Change is needed on many levels, and both men and women must be involved for it to happen.

Research and development organisations need to invest in programmes that promote gender equality alongside improving productivity and income. 

Policies that increase women's access to services and resources need to be implemented. Communities need to support women as farmers and as leaders.

When development organisations, policies and communities, support the success of women, we have a chance to reduce extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity for girls and boys, women and men around the world.

Michael Okun Oliech

Nairobi

 

Edited by Kiilu Damaris