Economic Empowerment; an Instrument for Reproductive Empowerment

When more women work, economies grow and knowledge expands. The benefit of helping women entrepreneurs goes beyond economic stability. An increase in females in the labour force allows not only for growth in the economy, but also for greater gender equality.

In today’s world, more and more people speak to the importance of women’s empowerment. According to UN speaker, Alaka Basu [1], empowerment goes beyond having choice. Instead, effective gender equality requires the transition from instrumental to ideological power. Instrumental power gives women power over an area of life and in turn, often leads them to question ideologies of other areas.

At Artistri Sud, our focus is on a major instrumental powers: economic power. Economic power not only contributes to women’s ability to be equal in the public sphere but also leads women to question and better understand an ideological power, sexual and reproductive rights. Sexual and reproductive empowerment refer to the right to choose the number of children a woman wishes to have, prevention and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, and freedom from sexual violence.

Economic empowerment leads to reproductive empowerment by allowing women to be outside the home, exposed to others and to the greater community. By participating more extensively in public and community life, women learn about contraceptive methods and their affordability, while having better access to clinics. In fact, after our ASSET program, women were involved in 3.5 community organizations on average! 79% of these women reported becoming more involved in their community. Our goal is not only to help women with their economic endeavours but for that economic power to expand into other areas of their lives.

Although Artistri Sud focuses on empowering women economically, it is the education we provide that empowers women’s decision-making. Statistically[2], learning economic potential has shown to improve women’s attitude towards reproductive health. This correlation created by education is true in that when women see their potential in the work force, they often see their potential for independence in other areas of life. Therefore, educating women about their economic empowerment is an instrumental power that allows women to be better informed about sexual and reproductive rights.

When empowering women economically, the potential for work is as important as the work itself. This potential refers to the freedom to choose to do something against the norm. For that reason, our goal is not only to consider how women can be economically self-sufficient, but also to show them that they may choose how their life will be led. The ability to choose, stemmed from economic empowerment, is therefore the underlying basis for women to see their capability and for this realization to transgress to all areas of life.

By Gabriela Foresti




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