02 August 2023

Female empowerment: how to help women gain autonomy and independence

In an ever-changing world, female empowerment emerges as an important catalyst for progress and development. But what is meant by female empowerment and how can we help reduce gender inequality? Let's go into these issues in detail and see how the Valter Baldaccini Foundation is working in this direction.

What is female empowerment?

Women's empowerment is a global movement that aims to enhance and improve the social, economic, political, and legal role of women. This process allows women to take a more active and participatory role in the decisions and issues that affect their lives.

It is a concept closely linked to the "gender gap", or gender divide, a phenomenon which reflects the disparities existing between men and women in different socio-economic situations. This gap manifests itself in aspects such as wage differences, access to education, political representation, access to health services and the distribution of domestic work. Unfortunately, women often find themselves disadvantaged compared to men in these areas, thus limiting their opportunities and potential. According to the 2022 Global Gender Gap data released by the World Economic Forum, it will take 132 years to achieve full parity.

In many countries, such as in sub-Saharan Africa, the gender gap is particularly wide. Access to education is one of the hardest hit sectors, with many girls not attending school due to early pregnancies or forced marriages. During the pandemic in particular, the gap has widened further, with an increase in girls' domestic and care work, making it even more difficult for them to participate in education.

Women's empowerment therefore aims to address and reduce these gaps: through empowerment, women are encouraged and supported to claim their rights, to fully exploit their potential and to actively participate in all spheres of society.

Key areas to achieve women's empowerment

In many global regions, women's empowerment is a goal still awaiting realization. Even though women incessantly struggle to consolidate their autonomy and independence, the shadow of gender inequality persists, creating barriers in many areas. This disparity represents a considerable obstacle in women's advancement towards empowerment, but it is possible to significantly mitigate these differences through the active promotion of female empowerment and by providing effective support to women in pursuing their personal and professional goals.

Promoting women's empowerment focuses on several key areas:

  • Education, one of the most powerful tools to promote women's empowerment. It is crucial to ensure that women have access to the skills and knowledge that allow them to exercise complete control over their lives. Education not only improves reading and writing skills but can also equip women with useful skills for daily life and for their career path. Every educational opportunity can therefore open a door towards autonomy and independence.
     
  • Economic and financial autonomy is essential for their independence. Women must have the same opportunities as men to access economic resources, such as education, employment, and financial opportunities. This includes the right to own and inherit property, to be paid fairly for work done and to have access to financial services. Economic autonomy also helps women escape poverty, violence, and social exclusion.
     
  • Health and well-being: female empowerment requires women to have full control over their own health and well-being, both physical and mental. This includes access to health services, the ability to make informed decisions about your body and your sexual and reproductive health, and access to resources and support for your mental health care.
     
  • Participation and leadership. To fully realize female empowerment, women must be able to participate fully in the political, economic, and social life of their country. This means having a seat at the table when making decisions that affect their lives, from local communities to national and international governments.


The Valter Baldaccini Foundation's projects for women

We, at the Valter Baldaccini Foundation, are committed to supporting women's empowerment in several countries, including Kosovo, Burkina Faso, Ukraine, and Kenya. All our solidarity projects are designed and structured to support and provide an opportunity for redemption to those who are most in difficulty, the most fragile and most vulnerable. For women, this translates into creating environments where they can acquire skills, develop their self-esteem, and become leaders within their communities.

The primary goal of our projects for women is to facilitate their way towards self-reliance and independence. Here are some of the projects that we are currently carrying out with commitment and dedication to support women:

  • The project Mutanu: the pink garden, activated in Kenya together with Sister Federica Zoia, is an example of promoting female empowerment. With this project we offer women the opportunity to achieve economic independencethrough agriculture and breeding activities: the women who participate work in a greenhouse growing vegetables and generating income by selling products at the local market. Furthermore, some women can raise goats, cows and manage a chicken coop, providing additional financial resources for themselves and their families. This project for women is not limited to economic activity alone, but also includes an important training component. In fact, women participate in specific courses for the development of agricultural techniques and for the management of microcredit, a key element in leading them towards complete economic and social autonomy.
     
  • Similar to the project "Mutanu: the pink garden" in Kenya, we are also launching a project for women in Burkina Faso aimed at creating job and economic opportunities. We are building a chicken coop that will be entirely managed by a group of local women: this chicken coop is not just an occupation, but will become a stable source of livelihood, guaranteeing fundamental economic independence for these women.
     
  • The "A job for young mothers of Mathare" project is another powerful empowerment tool designed for single mothers aged 12-19, residing in Mathare, a slum area in Nairobi, Kenya. This initiative was born from the collaboration between Joab Omoto and the Mathare nuns. Every year it offers 15 young mothers the opportunity to learn a trade in local craftsmanship, thus helping to guarantee an income and to build a better future for themselves and for their own children. The project also includes a path of psychological support, to improve the girls' self-esteem and to provide them with useful skills in caring for their children, in hygiene and in disease prevention. The goal is to break the cycle of poverty and to promote the individual, social and economic development of young mothers, in a context otherwise devoid of opportunities.
     
  • In parallel to our work in Africa, we have started a significant women's empowerment project in Ukraine, a country hard hit by war. In collaboration with the Lviv Polytechnic University, we have created a socio-educational program aimed at women forced to flee the areas most devastated by the conflict. This project is geared towards providing these women with vocational training and skills that they can use to rebuild their lives and achieve some economic independence. This is a fundamental step to strengthen their sense of self-esteem and autonomy, contributing to their empowerment in a particularly difficult context.
     
  • Even in Europe there are areas where gender inequality is still deeply rooted, such as in Kosovo, where for some years together with Caritas Umbria at the Casa di Leskoc we have been structuring projects that directly involve women in their emancipation process. Above all in the rural areas of the country, a strongly patriarchal society persists, where women are only considered wives and mothers. The pathways to university access and job placement that we promote for young girls from Leskoc have precisely this objective: to transform this culture and offer women the possibility of an autonomous and independent life.


In conclusion, women's empowerment is a crucial, global that we, as a society, must pursue to promote collective progress. Through our active projects for women in Kosovo, Kenya, Burkina Faso and Ukraine, we at the Valter Baldaccini Foundation are concretely committed to expanding women's opportunities, increasing their autonomy and strengthening their position in society.

Creating economic opportunity, education, health and wellness advocacy, job training, and leadership encouragement are essential tools we use to empower women. Each of the projects mentioned demonstrates that, with our commitment and appropriate strategies, we can make significant progress towards reducing gender inequalities and empowering women.

You too can be part of this important cause: find out how to support us!

With your contribution, you can make a significant difference in the lives of many women, helping them gain the independence and autonomy they need. Remember, every single donation counts. Even a small gesture is precious to change the lives of many women.

Thanks to your support, many women will have access to a brighter and more equal future.

Donate now and join us in this commitment to empower women, towards a more just and equal world.

 



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