Tag: women empowerment

Tag: women empowerment

5 Steps to Women empowerment in Africa.

 

For sustainable development, any progressive nation should take into account critical issues like gender equality and women’s economic empowerment.

As evident from surveys, higher female earnings greatly contribute to children’s education and family health, impacting the overall economic growth of a nation.

Statistically speaking, women’s contribution to waged work jumped from 42% to 46% between 1997 and 2007.

Evidently, achieving women’s economic empowerment is the key to solve issues like gender inequality and poverty and to foster inclusive economic growth as well.

Why Women’s Economic Empowerment Matters?

Women are known to contribute significantly to economics in the form of business, entrepreneurial work, or unpaid labor (sadly!).

While women living in some parts of the developed countries have the role of decision-makers and influencers, gender discrimination remains a debilitating social issue in many parts of the world, and those subaltern women are often alarmingly affected by poverty, discrimination, and other forms of vulnerable exploitations.

As any developing nation would agree, sustainable economic growth is unthinkable without women empowerment, and measures for gender inclusion is the driving factor of social progress and economic growth.

Working women have an enormous contribution to education, health, and wellness, and therefore achieving gender equality is indispensable to holistic developments.

Here are ways we can empower women especially in Africa:

 

 

Women empowerment in Africa Infographic

Catcalling is not a Compliment, It’s Harassment!!

When I go to the shop every morning, our gate man and his friends will not let a lady pass by the gate without uttering words like “mrembo leo hunisalimii?”- “Beautiful come and say hi”. You can imagine how you look in the morning – baggy t-shirt or hoodie, sweatpants or tights, and they still catcall us which is very irritating. Most of the times I just pass by without saying anything or when am in a good mood I just wave and move along.

I am sure millions of women and girls around the world will have heard phrases like that. “Hey Sexy!” “Hey Beautiful!” “Ouh your body this or that!” or something like it. Some might say that it’s harmless, just a joke, or perhaps even a compliment.

But to be honest catcalling is none of those things. It’s an explicit demonstration of power, one that is intended to frighten or intimidate the person it’s addressed to. It is based in deep-rooted gender inequality, which sees women’s bodies as not their own.

 

In my opinion, in the context of gender, harassment often ends up being a way for men to exert control over women and their bodies. Shouting a crude comment about a woman’s appearance suggests entitlement to her body. Groping or stalking or simply standing too close without a woman’s permission shows entitlement to her space. Expecting a woman to talk to you while or after you harass her displays entitlement to her time. Do You Agree?

 

What is Catcalling?

Catcalling is when an individual whistles, shouts, or makes sexual comments toward another individual as they are walking by. Women are often the ones faced with having to deal with this ridiculous issue. The fact that I get a little nervous when I decide to get dressed up because I don’t feel like getting harassed, is a problem. You shouldn’t have to feel self-conscious or nervous every time you get dressed to head out the door or every time you pass by men on the street.

What is Street Harassment?

Street harassment is one of the most pervasive forms of violence against women and girls. It’s a type of sexual harassment and includes catcalling, unwanted comments, gestures, honking and uninvited sexual advances from strangers in a public place.

When you face harassment as part of your daily life, whether it’s while going for a run or getting the bus to see friends, what does that do? It holds you back right?

You are compelled to change your clothes, or routes to work just to try to avoid it. It can even  prevent you from working, from socialising, from learning, and from living with freedom and dignity.

This is not acceptable. No woman or girl should feel afraid in the streets of her own city.

Did you Know Poverty makes girls more vulnerable to harassment??

We help and interact with many women and girls in the rural areas we operate and they have stories to tell about street harassment. One would think thank living in the rural areas is a bit safer than urban areas but we were wrong.

Women and girls living in poverty are even more vulnerable to this sort of street harassment. For example, Rose Wanjiru attends a local school in Kangai village, Kenya. She is only 12 years old, but she and her friends are often harassed by men as they walk to and from school. Rose says:

“On my way home, we often get catcalls from the farm workers and boda boda [motorcycle taxi] riders. My biggest wish is that we get an education, the men should leave us alone.”

 

RELATED CONTENT: See How we are Raising Funds to help our Beneficiaries like Rose to stay in school.

How Protect a Girls Image is helping girls who are experiencing street harassment.

Jackline Wamwitha, Our eldest girl belongs to the Protect a Girls Image-supported girls’ club at her school. The club is a safe spacewhere the girls learn about their rights and gain the confidence to report harassment and abuse. Jackline looks out for other girls at school. She says: “I tell my friends: don’t pay attention to those men.”

In addition to girls’ clubs, Protect a Girls Image is working with women’s groups and training government officials, police, health workers and legal advisers in Kenya on how to best to tackle violence against women and girls.

By working closely with local commuities, PGIO is tackling gender-based street harassment at its root, by challenging the behaviours and gender inequalities that cause it.

 

READ MORE: Our Visit to Kangai Sunday School  Support Club. – Talks on Menstruation, Sex, Consent and Safety.

 

How Should You Deal with Street Harassment?

 Ignore It

Sometimes, no response is the best response (especially if you’re concerned about escalating the situation). Some harassers might enjoy any sort of attention, so ignoring the foolishness is the best bet. Hopefully, they will eventually get a clue and stop catcalling completely.

 Respond

If you’re a quick thinker with a strong voice, then responding may be a good choice. If you feel safe enough to do so, assertively respond to the harassers calmly, firmly and without insults or personal attacks to let them know that their actions are unwelcome, unacceptable and wrong. It’s one way to turn the situation around.

Show Compassion

Sometimes kindness is the most unexpected, confusing, and wonderful response of all. So if some guy is saying garbage about your appearance, you can respond with quiet sympathy. “You must be in a bad place to comment on stranger’s bodies like that. I hope life gets better for you.” You can say, with full sincerity. Then sashay away!

Report to Employer

If you are being harassed at work you can air your views and let Human Resources know that their employees are harassing people on the job and why that is unacceptable. I know you might be thinking “what will my colleagues think and what if I lose my job” If we don’t start standing up for ourselves now then when?

Step In

If you see a lady being harassed, please help them out of the situation and let the harasser know that their actions are not condoned by others. Ask her if she wants help and what she’d like you to do or simply check in to see if she is OK. Majority of street harassers look to other men for approval so they might gang up on you.

 

What will you Do to Help Girls facing Street Harassment??

If you Donate to Protect A Girls’ Image Education Funding>>>HERE, you can help us support more Girls in School, so that they can be educated on preventing and responding to harassment and violence. Here’s what your money could do:

  • $80  could help educate girls and ensure they are aware of their rights
  • $5 could help girls carry their books to school.
  • $10 could help get a Dozen of Books for each girl, to write down everything  they learn.
  • $3 could help buy a Dozen of Pens for them to write with.

 

SUMMARY

The most common defense that men have against this issue is that catcalls are their way of “complimenting” a woman’s looks. Going up to a woman and telling her she’s beautiful is one thing, but shouting “damn!” “hey sexy!” or whistling and honking the car horn as a woman walks by is a different story.

Catcalling can even get to the point of being dangerous if women decide defend themselves or ignore the cat-callers, because often they will get offended causing them to act in an aggressive or intimidating manner by name calling or going as far as assaulting women. It’s important that you assess your situation and ensure your safety before responding.

What men need to understand is that catcalling is not cute, funny, or complimenting. It’s harassment, degrading, and disgusting. It lets women know they are being objectified and looked at as nothing more than a piece of meat. It makes women feel as though they have no rights or values. Women are not dogs to be whistled at and they are not sexual objects. Women are more than their looks. Women have the right to be treated with as much respect and dignity when walking down the street as any man. Women deserve to feel safe!!

RELATED CONTENT

Ten Ways to Teach your Children Consent at every Age.

Ten Tips on how Parents can Help Children who have experienced Trauma.

Skills that Dad’s should teach their 13year Old Daughters in 2020.

 

Top 7 things you need to teach your child about sex and consent.

Being a parent is compiled of so many firsts and big moments you look forward to with your children. One of them most parents do not look forward to is Sex Education. Most parents find this conversation very uncomfortable. Let’s face it, my generation really didn’t get much talks as our parent’s generation did not talk about Sex at all!! But in this generation, I am surprised that 10 year olds know about Sex and it’s not from our parents, but from the internet, movies and magazines.

Why don’t Victims of Sexual Assault come forward sooner?

 

WHY DON’T VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT COME FORWARD SOONER?

 

Reasons why sexual assault survivors don't come forward sooner.

Sexual assault survivors don’t come forward sooner due to shame, guilt, denial, and fear of the consequences that might follow them.

It is very common for victims of sexual assault to not disclose their trauma as soon as it happens that is if they ever do. But since everybody in the world is continually confused by why women don’t come forward, I offer some information based on the psychology of abuse to help answer this question.

To make sure we are all in the same page, when I talk about Sexual harassment and behaviors, I include cat calling, inappropriate touching, invasion of privacy, sexual jokes, sexual bribery, and coercion just to mention a few.

Below I have listed the most significant reasons why women do not come forward more often or delay in coming forward.

  • Shame

One of the primary reasons women don’t come forward to report sexual harassment or assault is shame. Sexual abuse, by its very nature, is humiliating and dehumanizing. The victim feels invaded and defiled, while simultaneously feeling the indignity of being helpless and at the mercy of another person.

Shame is a feeling deep within us of being exposed and unworthy. When we feel ashamed, we want to hide. We hang our heads, stoop our shoulders, and curve inward as if trying to make ourselves invisible. Most people who have been deeply shamed take on the underlying and pervasive belief that they are broken, unworthy and unlovable.

Victims of sexual harassment and sexual assault in adulthood or sexual abuse in childhood tend to feel shame, because as human beings, we want to believe that we have control over what happens to us. When that personal power is challenged by a victimization of any kind, we feel humiliated. We believe we should have been able to defend ourselves. And because we weren’t able to do so, we feel helpless and powerless. This powerlessness causes humiliation  which leads to shame.

  • Denial, Minimization

Many women refuse to believe that the treatment they endured was actually abusive. They downplay how much they have been harmed by sexual harassment and even sexual assault. They convince themselves that “it wasn’t a big deal.” I know a lot of women who were brutally raped, and I have friends who were sexually abused in childhood. So when a scenario of a girl being sexually harassed by her boss arose, she said that it was nothing compared to what these women went through. She tells herself to just move on and forget the whole thing.

Other women are good at making excuses for their abusers. I have often heard victims of sexual harassment say things like “I felt sorry for him,” or “I figured he wasn’t getting enough sex at home,” or even “I knew he couldn’t help himself.”

And finally, women convince themselves that they are the only victim of a sexual harasser or abuser. It is often only after other women step forward to say that they were abused by a perpetrator that a victim may realize that they are dealing with a serial abuser.

  • Fear of the Consequences

Fear of the repercussions is a huge obstacle women face when it comes to reporting sexual harassment or assault. The fear of losing their job, fear they won’t find another job, fear they will be failed in school, fear of being blamed, fear of being branded a victim, fear of being blackballed by people, fear of their physical safety. This is so true.

Many don’t disclose, because they fear they won’t be believed, and until very recently, that has primarily been the case. The fact that sexual misconduct is the most under-reported crime is due to a common belief that women make up these stories for attention or to get back at a man who rejected them. Victims’ accounts are often scrutinized to the point of exhaustion. Victims are often labeled opportunists, blamed for their own victimization, and punished for coming forward.

  • Low Self-Esteem

Some victims have such low self-esteem that they don’t consider what happened to them to be very serious. They don’t value or respect their own bodies or their own integrity, so if someone violates them, they downplay it. Sexual violations wound a woman’s self-esteem, self-concept, and sense of self. The more a girl or woman puts up with, the more her self-image becomes distorted. Little by little, acts of disrespect, objectification, and shaming whittle away at her self-esteem until she has little regard for herself and her feelings. There is a huge price to pay for “going along” with sexual exploitation. A woman doesn’t just give away her body; she gives away her integrity.

Even the most confident girl cannot sustain her sense of confidence if she is sexually violated. She feels so much shame that it is difficult to hold her head up high. She finds it difficult to have the motivation to continue on her path, whether it be college or a career.

  • Feelings of Hopelessness and Helplessness

Research has shown us that victims who cannot see a way out of an abusive situation soon develop a sense of hopelessness and helplessness, and this in turn contributes to them giving up and not trying to escape or seek help. Specifically, learned helplessness is a condition in which a person suffers from a sense of powerlessness, arising from a traumatic event or persistent failure to succeed and considered to be one of the underlying causes of depression. A concept originally developed by the research of psychologist and Steven D. Meier, learned helplessness is a phenomenon that says when people feel like they have no control over what happens, they tend to simply give up and accept their fate.

Women feel it is useless to come forward, because they have seen the way others have been treated. They feel it is hopeless, because they won’t be believed, and their reputations will be tainted, if not ruined. Women who have already been sexually assaulted or harassed feel especially helpless, since the chances are extremely high that they did not receive the justice they so desperately needed. These fears can cause women to think there is nowhere to turn, to feel trapped and even hopeless.

  • A History of Being Sexually Violated

Women who have already been traumatized by child sexual abuse or by sexual assault as an adult are far less likely to speak out about sexual harassment at work or at school. Research shows that survivors of previous abuse and assault are at a higher risk of being sexually assaulted again. For example, research shows that 38 percent of college-aged women who have been sexually violated had first been victimized prior to college.

Those who experienced previous abuse will likely respond to overtures of sexual harassment much differently than women who have not been abused. A friend shared with me that she freezes every time a guy makes a sexual advance towards her hoping he will just walk away. This “freezing reaction” is a common one for those who were sexually abused in childhood. And as was mentioned above, those who have previously been victimized are more likely to keep quiet about the abuse, since they may have already had the experience of not being believed and not receiving justice.

  • Disbelief, Dissociated, or Drugged

Finally, sometimes women don’t report sexual harassment or assault, because at the time of the abuse they were drugged, inebriated, or dissociated. Others may have been so drunk before the assault that they doubt their memories, and as we know, some are so traumatized that they dissociated during the attack and have only vague memories. It usually takes one woman coming forward before a woman is able to trust her own memories of the experience. Unless other women come forward to make a complaint about someone, most will continue doubting themselves and assuming they will be doubted if they report.

It is understandable that women have a difficult time coming forward for a number of reasons. These women deserve our recognition about how difficult it is and our compassion for what they have been through. Women need to be encouraged to begin to push away their internalized shame with anger and to learn how to give the shame back to their abusers.

Instead of focusing so much energy on trying to figure out why victims don’t report, it would be far more productive to ask, “Why do we allow men to continue to sexually harass and assault women?” Perhaps even more important, we need to stop asking why victims wait to report and instead focus on how we can better support victims in their quest for justice and healing.

 

Case Study: Meet Marion, a PGIO Beneficiary

Meet Marion Wikale, a form One student In Nile Road Day Secondary School in Jericho, Makadara District. Nile Road Secondary School was not her dream high School but a school she found herself in due to unavoidable circumstances. She had first been admitted to A few months before Marion had to join High School, she had to deal with the emotional stress of her father who she really idolized leaving their family for another woman. Her mother, Teresiah Waruguru had to step up as the sole breadwinner. Marion could not join the School she had been accepted to despite her good grades. Like any other firstborn, she was worried about her mother’s emotional state, being unemployed and her capabilities of providing for the family, let alone pay for a Boarding School. Marion, therefore, settled to attend a Day School near home since it was cheaper and she could look out for her mother. The School is way below her potential since she is very bright and proactive.

Teresiah Waruguru, Marion’s mother was abandoned by her husband ( a Doctor)just when Marion was about to join High School. Teresiah is a high school drop-out and so it has been difficult for her to land a job with a stable income so she has resorted to doing casual jobs like doing laundry, vending food like chapattis and mandazis, and any other casual job she can do just to put food on the table. She is therefore incapable of paying school fees for her two daughters Marion and Angela who is still at Middle School.

Protect Girls Image has provided psychosocial support for the family especially Marion who has really been affected by her Father’s absence and the drastic change in the quality of life. She fell into Depression, had self-esteem issues and was isolating herself. One of our counselors had sessions with her for therapy every week where she learned to cope and be positive despite her circumstances.

71% of High School Drop Outs come from Fatherless homes. It is no guarantee that children with involved Dads won’t struggle in school. However, when the Dad is not in the picture, the feeling of abandonment leaves a child unable to trust and leads to behavioral issues, depression, likely to be sexually active at a young age and likely to abuse drugs.

As much as the psychosocial support she has received from PGIO has helped, she still is suffering due to lack of school fees. She misses her classes a lot after being sent home and catching up becomes difficult. Marion needs stability in her education since she is very bright and would like to help her family and society after becoming a successful Engineer.

If you would like to help in any way with Marion’s case, please scroll down to the Donate Button or Contact the Organization through info@protectagirlsimage.org . Every Dollar/ Shilling Counts.