Women empowerment is the process by which the society or the community in general works in order to increase the political, educational, social, economic, spiritual, and gender strength of women in the basis of the society. For decades, communities around the world have worked and strived towards women empowerment and making their roles in the society more bold and well defined. Gone are the times when the voice of women was not heard, especially in issues that were of great concern to the society, such as political roles and their role in the household basis. More predominant was the negligence that women were shown in acquiring education since formal education was generally preserved for men. However, with time, women have had their pleas heard, and through acquiring basic fundamental education, they have been able to make their roles known to the society.
Education has made many important contributions towards shaping the role of a woman in the society. Through acquired education, women can now fight for their rights and even challenge any wrong doings or discriminations imposed upon them. Education has also empowered women to acquire employment opportunities in market that was once dominated by the male society. Earlier on, women were only subjected to low wage jobs that often involved hard labor that was seemingly tiresome; however, due to the women empowerment in acquiring formal education, ladies in the modern day society can now compete with their male counterparts for top ranking jobs in managerial positions, doctors, lawyers, and engineers (Herz & Sperling, 2004). By doing so, women have proved themselves worthy of any job that was once thought to be only suitable for men and be within men's capability.
Further discussions have shown that women empowerment to acquiring education has benefited them fight the HIV/AIDS pandemic and other diseases. Women are now taking professions in the medical field and are becoming trained doctors, surgeons, and nurses. By doing so, they also educate other women on how to protect and take care of themselves during pregnancies, intercourse, child nurturing, and also in taking care of the sick. With the high global death rates caused by HIV/AIDS, malaria, and infant immortality, it comes as a high time where women need to be highly educated on how to treat themselves and take care of themselves for the survival of the future generations. Furthermore, the society, including women, needs to know the importance of practicing safe sex in order to avoid STDs, unwanted pregnancies, and HIV/AIDS. In case a lady gets pregnant, she also needs to know ways in which she should take care of herself for her safety and also for the safety of her unborn child (Herz & Sperling, 2004).
Education also helps to create awareness of smaller, healthier and better educated families. Women are naturally the child's first protector and guardian, and it is through their love, care and nurturing that their children are able to remain strong, healthy and well protected. Education empowers women to know ways in which they can take care of their families through proper hygiene, healthy living, and proper diet. All of this begins when a lady is in her pregnancy period and she learns how to take care of herself through healthy eating and proper exercise (Lewis & Lockheed, 2004). Education also teaches women how to feed their babies at different ages until they reach maturity. Moreover, women are taught on ways to treat small injuries their babies may encounter in their plays, immunizations, and ways of interacting with their babies to offer them comfort. Perhaps one of the most important parts is how education teaches women about family planning and encourages them from neglecting traditional methods of unplanned and uncontrolled pregnancies that threaten the population pressure and economic stability of a country (Lewis & Lockheed, 2004).
Poverty has played major roles in discrimination and degradation of women in the society. In the remote areas of the world far from civilization and technology, certain practices that are "inhumane" to women are still practiced. Female genital mutilation (FGM) is however practiced in certain societies of the world. Not only is this action painful and degrading, it is also harmful and life-threatening to women. Due to poverty, women in these places lack education and knowledge on the dangers of FGM and how it may affect them during giving birth. In some places, women (especially young girls who are subjected to it) lack the mechanisms to report what is happening to them to the relevant authorities. In some other poverty stricken areas, women are denied education and are subjected to early marriages at a very tender age.
In conclusion, it is important to realize the ways in which education empowers the society by empowering women. Women are said to be the backbone of the society, and it is through educating and empowering them that we are protecting the future generations as well. A healthy society where women are empowered politically, socially, economically, and spiritually is a society that is bound to prosper and survive healthily for a long period of time. It is high time that the society acknowledges that women are more than household items meant for cooking, cleaning, taking care of children and doing other household chores, but are not part of the greater society and their input is as important as that of men. Furthermore, nations should give opportunities to women to be their leaders and presidents, and they should stop stereotyping such positions to be for men only.
Herz, B., & Sperling, G. (2004). What Works in Girls' Education. (Council on Foreign Relations, 2004) Retrieved from http://www.cfr.org/education/works-girls-education/p6947, Ch. 2, pp. 21-40.
Lewis, M., & Lockheed, M. (2004). Inexcusable Absence: Why 60 Million Girls Still Aren't In School and What to do Retrieved from http://www.cgdev.org//publication/9781933286143-inexcusable-absence-why-60-