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If you look at a woman in a rural village, with no taught skills or education, do you think you’re likely to find her huddled up in a corner of her house, powerless and unproductive or possibly working in the fields or washing clothes or cooking a meal? I’m pretty sure you’re thinking of some of the latter options, which is probably correct. So imagine, if a woman with no education and no training can play such a vital role within her family, how much more would she be able to do as an empowered woman. How much more would she be able to give back to her family and to her community?

When we say women need to be empowered, what is the aspect of empowerment that comes to your mind? Empowerment is multi-faceted and can range from economic empowerment and social empowerment to gender empowerment and legal empowerment. It is important that when we look to empower women, we aim to do so holistically to ensure there is little lacking.

If we look at edifying women in rural villages for example, the idea that springs to one’s mind could perhaps be of a relocation or moving to the city to find work or to be educated. But this is not the case. Empowerment does not have to happen in the city; it happens best in the rural villages, where women get to stay with their families, raise them right, provide for them, enjoy a good family life and still be able to work towards something that they would be able to enjoy or achieve as a personal success.


Let’s look at some of the ways that women could be empowered:

  • Help them connect with each other

The power of human association is a no brainer. When women come together, talk and spend time with each other, there is much that can come about as a result of this. Creating a safe space for women to do this is essential as it allows them to talk about and learn more about their rights as women and be educated on various issues within the society.

  • Teach them to read and write

With low literacy levels in most rural villages, teaching a woman to read and write would help them to read simple instructions, road signs, newspapers, labels and medicinal information. It would also add to a better rapport between the schooling children and the mother as she would be able to maybe help the child or even learn from them.

  • Help them to become mobile

Mobilising could mean anything from creating betters ways for them to get from A to B to even opening up avenues where they could actually have some kind of freedom to travel. Most women in villages are held back by families who don’t necessarily let them associate with the outside world or travel outside of the village. Giving these women the chance to travel and be independent, perhaps by means of workshops conducted in nearby villages or groups they could join to learn something, would no doubt be useful.

  • Encourage saving

Teaching women the art of money handling- how to spend wisely and to save more for the future is something that is vital. Most women, especially from rural areas could be in the habit of spending whatever they get almost instantly, maybe not for leisure, but for daily necessities. Helping these women to open up bank accounts and enlightening them on money matters goes a long way in empowering them for the future.

  • Train them in different skills and cottage industries

By training women methodically to start small cottage industries like mushroom farming, cooking, sewing or handlooming, you slowly open up the door to empower them to reach greater heights in their businesses. There are several skills that could be taught, which if diligently learned can lead to great success.

  • Make them confident

Something which is so important for the empowerment of women is to build their confidence, to let them know that they can push ahead and achieve greater things. It may seem very difficult for them to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but through training and mentoring they will be confident to face the obstacles on their road to success. The guidance they get will be imperative for their empowerment.

  • Form networks

Forming networks within the communities would enable women to explore their avenues more. It would allow them to learn more about social issues, health issues and even financial issues which would in turn let them make better choices for themselves and their families. Today, most of the knowledge gained is through people, so it is important that meeting people and forming networks remains an important part of empowering women.

  • Let them decide

Empowering women means boosting their confidence, their independence and their ability to make a decision solely based on their thinking and evaluation and to see it through to completion. This means we need to strengthen their decision making skills and how they assess situations.

  • Change their health habits

Sometimes an area overlooked is women’s hygiene and the hygiene of the family. Teaching a woman better healthcare and ways to treat common illnesses including first aid would allow them to enhance their living standards and have healthier lifestyles. Another key element they need to be educated about is family planning and their reproductive rights and ensuring they have access to local health clinics is a very important aspect of this.

  • Encourage leadership

By pushing them into leadership roles, women will be encouraged and motivated to do better. Not all women would perhaps be outspoken or open to learning new things, but when we show confidence in them and elevate them into positions of leading others, they would find that inner strength, confidence and motivation in them to excel in whatever they do.

Strengthening and enabling women to have dreams and goals and to see them through to reality is a great feat and a rewarding one on many levels. It is one that requires much dedication and a real passion to see women not only thrive, but be able to give so much more back towards the betterment of their families and the society.

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