Empowerment has become a common expression in our lives today. It dominates conversations in international gatherings that seek development for people and nations. And for women, empowerment is viewed as an important tool that can make a significant difference between ordinary women and achieving women.
As part of marking International Women’s Day 2020, ExLA Group and the Young African Women Congress fraternity seek to explore the various perceptions and perspectives of empowerment and where to strike a balance in order not to be imposing but rather inspiring.
According to the dictionary, empowerment is “the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights”. This definition reveals the fact that the human race is enthralled by external circumstances which directly or indirectly influence its inner drive or lethargy to take specific actions. The freedom to make choices is confined in a community of accepted ways of engagement. While many things have changed while the world evolves, individuals still must make choices which they consider beneficial or important to them.
Nonetheless, it is also important for individuals to consider how their choices affect others and influence the environment in which they flaunt their power of choice. Human beings are social beings.
Empowerment may dwell on having a bit more of self-worth, confidence and assertiveness or even being more productive in one’s space of engagement. Most importantly, however, improving one’s life in the name of empowerment must be accompanied by accountability. Being accountable means taking responsibility for your actions and inactions and considering the common good rather than just the individual self-gratification. It involves taking a further step to improve other people who may not have the privilege you enjoy.
And this is directly linked with our stern belief that “empowerment is not a destination but a journey, with detours that depend on each individual’s circumstances and opportunities. However, we recognise that tools can be provided to the disadvantaged and disenfranchised, and the environment can be made friendlier for the less privileged so that they can enjoy, participate and contribute to development in equal measure to the advantaged.
We therefore join the world to declare #EachforEqual, giving credence to the African woman, to reconsider what empowerment means, for her personal advancement, as well as her contributions towards other women’s development and hope for a better continent.
What is your empowerment?
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