It is acknowledged worldwide that women constitute a critical segment of world population and should be recognized in the global scheme of things. Women empowerment involves giving women an equal playing field with their make counterparts so as to enable them contribute to global development. This is why the United Nations included women empowerment as one of the millennium development goals. It is in this context that one can understand why the issues affecting women attract global attention and generate robust intellectual discourse when they are raised because if women are adequately empowered they would impact positively on global development.
Culture is the cumulative deposits of knowledge, beliefs, values and attitudes acquired in the course of generations. African women empowerment through culture in a globalized system simply refers to sensitizing the African woman on the need to digitalize most facets of her life so as to allow her to compete favorably against her male counterparts and improve her modus vivendi.
With the advent of virtual environments and socialplatforms, the world is fast shrinking into a global village that is propelled by ICT. The following are ways women can be empowered in a globalized world:
- Catch them young
Women empowerment through culture in a digitalized world should be a bottom-up approach. We must empower the girl child because as Jack Ma aptly put it, “Young people will have the seeds you bury in their mind…” Cartoons with cultural undertones, playthings with ethnic features, programs that lay emphasis on the good aspects of our culture should be made available to children. We should start early to teach our children that deep down lies buried the potential to be another Moremi or Queen Amina.
- Bridging the digital divide
A digital divide is an inequality with regards to access, use or impact of ICT. This inequality may be based on race, gender or educational attainment. Digital technology can be a powerful tool to empower disadvantaged groups and improve socioeconomic outcomes in developing countries. Barriers to technology adoption affect women reflecting broader disparities that technology alone cannot resolve. These barriers must be overcome by involving women from the onset of program design as stakeholders, co-creators and beneficiaries of technology based interventions. Failing to do so might further compound the disparities that many women already face.
- Eliminating cultural impediments
In some climes, women are only seen not heard. This discourages women empowerment. It is incontestable that if women are educated and mobilized, they will become critical thinkers and would be emboldened to break the culture of silence they have been subjected to and be in a better position to critically interrogate their conditions of powerlessness and voicelessness.
It is unarguably clear that lack of basic amenities, low income levels, legal and traditional barriers can inhibit women’s potentialities and disempower them. It is in this context that we can appreciate the clarion call by women in respect to their plight. The status quo has to change to accommodate women!