Female Empowerment in Rwanda
The Rwandan genocide of 1994 sparked the beginning of female empowerment in Rwanda. After this tragedy, much of the population left in this East African country was made up of women. This enabled them to have a voice in the public sector of Rwanda, empowering all Rwandan women to take a stand for their nation.

Four Examples of Female Empowerment in Rwanda

  1. President Paul Kagame led the call for female empowerment in Rwanda. President Kagame realized that women would need to play a large role in Rwanda’s restoration. A new constitution was passed in 2003 which stated that 30 percent of parliamentary seats would be reserved for women. Girls’ education was also very much encouraged as well as women being appointed to leadership roles.The president’s policies were welcomed by all Rwandans and quotas were met and surpassed extraordinarily. In the country’s 2003 election, 48 percent of parliamentary seats went to women; in the next election, 64 percent of seats went to women.
  2. Rwanda leads the world by having the most women in its national legislature. On this same scale, the U.S. ranks ninety-sixth with only 19 percent of its governmental seats held by women.
  3. Abishyizehamwe, in collaboration with the ActionAid Fund Leadership Opportunities for Women (FLOW), is a women’s smallholder farmers’ group formed in 2013 in order to mobilize women to learn and adopt sustainable agriculture practices. The organization opened an early childhood care center to provide women with the opportunity to spend less time caring for children and more time generating income for their families. FLOW and Abishyizehamwe have allowed Rwandan women to help support their families financially instead of just being an unpaid caretaker.
  4. Since 1997, Women for Women International has helped more than 76,000 Rwandan women become economically autonomous. The organization’s one-year program has allowed women to strengthen themselves as well as their country by gaining economic and social self-sufficieny. Through this program, women are able to succeed in anything from yogurt-making to brick-making to hospitality management. Women for Women International has allowed Rwandan women to go from being poverty-stricken to having voices in their country and making a real difference in rebuilding Rwanda.

Female empowerment in Rwanda has come a long way since the genocide in 1994, but it still has a long way to go. Women are now very prominent in the public sector, but it is important that they also gain autonomy in their private lives. Nations around the world should look to Rwanda as a prime example of how much women can accomplish when they are given the chance.

– Megan Maxwell
Photo: Google

TurkeyThe country of Turkey is located in between the European and Asian continents. Technically, the nation belongs to both continents, with 95 percent of Turkey’s landmass geographically located in Asia and the other five percent in Europe. This has led the Republic of Turkey to have evolved cultural influences from both the European lifestyle and the Asian way of life.

Even so, Turkey is a nation still heavily based upon tradition. Based on traditional values, women within the Turkish society rarely work outside the home or with men they are not related to. High-status job positions in almost all fields, except domestic, are taken by men, whilst the women are expected to stay at home mothers and wives.

Over the past several decades, though, women’s empowerment in Turkey has faced a turning point. Turkish women can now work as bankers, teachers, lawyers, engineers and more. A small but encouraging number of women even work as politicians. In spite of this being the case, women in Turkey still are not seen as equals to men. According to U.N. Women, women in Turkey make approximately 44 percent of the earnings that men make.

In the majority of households, the man has more power than the woman. The woman is expected to limit herself by choosing to take on a motherly role for the children, and being a dedicated and loving wife to her husband, even when faced with violence. As recorded by the National Domestic Violence survey, up to 38 percent of married Turkish women had suffered abuse from their husbands in 2014.

As mentioned before, the perception of women in Turkey is slowly starting to change. Throughout the 2000s, the Turkish government has adopted multiple pieces of legislation aimed at protecting women from domestic violence and eradicating gender-based discrimination. However, even though laws have been passed, the implementation and enforcement of such laws has not been as successful.

Gender equality is not yet a reality in the country, but women’s empowerment in Turkey has grown in the past few years. In fact, there is a United Nations campaign focused solely on improving the lives of women in the Western Balkans and Turkey. Initiatives, such as the three-year program Implementing Norms, Changing Minds, fight to end violence and discrimination against women, giving particular attention to women belonging to the most disadvantaged groups.

Furthermore, through the More and Better Jobs for Women project, the International Labour Organization (ILO) fights to create awareness about women’s employment opportunities. Developing women’s employment and creating decent work opportunities are some of the goals undertaken by the organization. By better serving the women of Turkey, the ILO hopes to increase the number of women employed in the labor force, only 26.7 percent of the female population as of 2014.

Turkey is on its way to becoming a country that values gender equality and forwards women’s empowerment. NGOs bring new awareness every day to the nation, and women’s empowerment in Turkey is slowly but surely becoming a reality.

– Paula Gibson

Photo: Flickr

Poverty is a global issue affecting every nation on earth. Over the past hundred years, life expectancy ranged from 30 to 40 years for many people. And if they made it that far, often they did so without adequate food, clothing, and shelter. The past decade has seen massive reductions in the numbers of the global poor, but there is still much work to be done. Today, the number of people in the world living on less than $1 a day is down to around 20% and dropping.

Essential to reducing poverty is economic freedom. China and India have become leaders in economic enterprise and in improving the economic freedoms within their nations. As a result, they have seen millions of people lifted out of poverty. To back up the numbers, the Cato Institute and Canada’s Frazier Institute put out a report called the Economic Freedom of the World report. The study annually looks at five major indicators of economic freedom. Those indicators are size of government, legal system and property rights, sound money, freedom to trade internationally, and regulation. From the indicators, the report lists 141 countries in terms of economic freedom.

The report has found that countries with higher levels of economic freedom grow more rapidly, have higher per capita incomes, and greater longevity than countries with lower levels of economic freedom. The top fifth of countries had per capita incomes seven times higher than the the bottom fifth and the results among the poor are significant. The poor in the bottom tenth in terms of economic freedom had incomes of $1,061 versus poor in the top tenth who had incomes around $8,735.

The report also pointed out that income inequality does not seem to be a factor in economic freedom. As a country becomes more free, the rich do not grow richer at the expense of the poor. Rather the poor also gain an advantage.  Economic freedom improves wealth which also improves health and mortality rates especially among women and children.

People are the solution to poverty and equal distribution of economic freedom will have a greater impact on reducing poverty than redistribution of wealth.

– Amanda Kloeppel
Source: The York Daily Record
Photo: The Guardian