When women have equal access to education and employment, the whole world benefits. Find out why, and how you can volunteer to support projects on women’s empowerment.
How do we build stronger economies, achieve development and sustainability goals, and improve the quality of life for entire communities?
One way we can achieve this is to assist women to empower themselves.
As one of the most powerful actions we can take in working towards a better world, supporting projects on women’s empowerment is a meaningful opportunity for volunteers.
Here’s how you can get involved in volunteer work relating to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), Goal 5: Gender Equality.
Why is women’s empowerment so vital?
The topic of women and empowerment has an important link to international development.
Globally, women on average earn a lower annual income than men, are less likely to own land or property, and are often expected to be responsible for childcare and household chores.
Yet when women prosper, entire communities benefit.
According to UNESCO, if all women in lower-resource countries had access to primary education, child mortality rates could fall by as much as one-sixth. And maternal death rates would decrease by two-thirds.
When women have a better education, access to healthcare, and autonomy, lives can be saved.
And when women have access to the tools they need to empower themselves, there is greater economic development. In the simplest of terms, when more women work, economies grow.
Women’s economic empowerment increases productivity, income equality, and boosts economic diversification, according to UN Women.
What does it mean to support women’s self-empowerment?
The definition of women’s empowerment is ensuring women have control over their own lives.
This includes having a strong sense of self-worth, the freedom to make choices, and the right to access resources equally, such as independent income.
Supporting women’s self-empowerment means assisting women in accessing more opportunities for employment and financial independence. This can include working on skills development to increase employability.
In turn, this boosts women’s confidence and quality of life.
In GVI’s volunteer projects, supporting women’s empowerment can be done through education and skills training to expand the career choices available to women in the communities we work with.
This gives women the chance to improve their economic status and well-being, as well as helping to break cycles that perpetuate gender discrimination and inequality.
How can volunteering contribute to women’s empowerment?
Activities for women’s empowerment typically include public health workshops, skills training, or educational support.
Here are some areas in which you can contribute to women’s empowerment.
Vocational training enables women to contribute towards the economic and social development of their communities.
In India, you can volunteer to support women’s economic empowerment by helping to provide vocational training and workshops.
You can support women in developing their competency with computers, and by facilitating skills classes on how to master computer skills such as using spreadsheets or word processing applications.
You can also assist with professional skills classes focused on creating a CV or honing interview skills. Or, you can manage discussion sessions that cover topics around setting up and managing a small business.
In countries like Ghana, you can also support women in learning other skills, including financial planning, IT literacy, and business management.
Volunteers can share knowledge and support with women in local communities, to help improve reproductive health and alleviate unequal access to public health.
In some traditional Ghanaian communities, for example, women and girls are unable to openly talk about or find support for common issues surrounding female reproductive health, such as puberty, menstrual health, or contraception.
Volunteer to support women’s empowerment and reproductive health by helping create safe-spaces for open discussions, and running workshops for women from traditional communities.
You can play a role in providing women with the information they need to improve their health, understand their rights, and build their confidence.
Education is a powerful tool for women’s empowerment and the alleviation of poverty.
By volunteering on projects that aim to provide equal education to women and girls, you can help alleviate the effects of gender inequality. Volunteers can help to facilitate opportunities for women to empower themselves and their families.
According to a 2015 report of statistics from UNESCO, women make up two-thirds of all illiterate adults in the world. Roughly 496 million women can’t read or write.
In lower-income communities, for example in villages in the Kilimanjaro area in Tanzania, families sometimes can’t afford to pay school fees and transportation costs.
The money they can afford to spend is usually invested in educating boys, and girls are taken out of school to help with running the household.
The girl empowerment project in Tanzania aims to alleviate social issues facing girls in Tanzania and support young women’s empowerment through education.
Volunteering on this project might involve supporting girls’ literacy and social development, or facilitating women’s empowerment through entrepreneurship classes.
For more than a decade now, this community development project has supported hundreds of young women who missed out on basic education. By providing a means to learn important skills, the project has enabled these women to better provide for their families.
Helping women to improve their English language skills can enable them to access better employment opportunities.
For example, in GVI’s women’s economic empowerment project in Cambodia, you can get involved in providing English lessons to students. In doing so, you can support them to continue to higher education or to gain more skilled employment in the future.
Assisting with women’s English language skills is one of the many ways we can support women in empowering themselves.
Join one of GVI’s international volunteer projects to support the self-empowerment of women.