Removing inequalities to achieve women empowerment
By Mugisha Leonard - Communications Officer
Women Group meeting in Gulu
Women bear an unequal share of the burden of poverty globally, due to societal and structural inequality. Women experience unequal access to healthcare starting from birth and throughout their reproductive years and are conspicuous by their absence from all levels of government – local, regional and national. Women also have limited economic freedom. In Sub-Saharan Africa, only 16–18 per cent of loans issued to small and medium-sized businesses are to women business owners.
Grassroots women’s groups like the ones we initiated in Gulu have tried to address these inequalities and achieve women’s empowerment through women’s economic self-help group programmes. The basic assumptions underpinning these income-generating programmes are that giving women access to working capital and technical support, such as training, can increase their ability to ‘generate choices and exercise bargaining power as well as develop a sense of self-worth, a belief in one’s ability to secure desired changes, and the right to control one’s life’. Women’s groups could facilitate these goals and improve women’s empowerment through the development of social capital and the mobilisation of women.
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