WHAT IS ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT?
Economic empowerment refers to the capacity of men and women that can participate, contribute or have a role to play in and benefit from the growth process of the economy. It is essentially the ability of people to feel empowered by access to the economy. This can be through access to jobs, invests made, savings or just having choices when making simple expenditures. Economic empowerment, specifically women’s empowerment is necessary in order for sustainable development to take place. This is because it supports the idea of equality in all aspects of life including the workplace, showing a way of life where there are high levels of productivity in a sustainable manner due to involvement of both genders.
BENEFITS OF ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT
It has been studied that when there is a more equal labour force in the economy, it is more likely that the economy will grow faster. By increasing education for girls and women, it is possible to see how this can lead to more economic growth due to a higher proportion of skilled labour existing in the market. Economic empowerment gives people the opportunity to support and improve themselves economically, not just to fulfil their immediate needs but also for their future needs. By encouraging economic empowerment, there is a reduction in poverty, something that is still prevalent in some parts of Africa. The equal economic empowerment of men and women allows for more resource allocation and therefore more economic growth which is beneficial for the country.
ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT IN AFRICA
The highest lack of economic empowerment exists in lower middle-income economies in North Africa. In North Africa, 54.7% of the region’s working women were in vulnerable unemployment as compared to 30.2% for men. This however is expected to change. Due to growing awareness and changes within governmental policies and approach to not just economic growth but women empowerment as well, it is possible to project that Africa will soon achieve economic empowerment for sustainable growth.
Morocco uses economic participation as its key to achieve this empowerment. Especially with changes in family laws, women feel more empowered at home. This is echoed by the growth of women empowerment projects that allow women to speak out against the issue and embrace the role of being an empowered individual. This enforces the idea of empowerment while also giving the women the opportunity to create their own jobs, companies and organizations which achieves the goal of economic empowerment. Such is the case in Empowering Women in Atlas, a program launched to create economic growth for women in Morocco. Similarly, Kenya has begun implementing economic and governmental policies and regulations such that women have to be in the workforce to first promote gender equality through women empowerment, followed by economic growth.