“There are customary and traditional laws which contradict new legislation, many of which cemented gender inequality.” (Vital Voices)
The empowerment of women remains a goal of both international and national entities and by providing opportunity to women entrepreneurs and combating marginalization in the workplace we can help women overcome limitations and achieve their goals. Sexism and marginalization in the workforce not only oppress women, but also hinder economic flow. Women who can’t get loans or start a business cannot add to the economic output of their society or provide for their family.
Reporter Gayle Tzemach Lemmon argues that women running all types of firms— from home businesses to major factories— are the overlooked key to economic development.
Marginalization, many times, stems from traditional cultural values and laws that are found patriarchal societies. Many rural and tribal socieites lack the necessary governance to protect women from discrimination in the workplace. Some cultures may propagate self-limiting views of young women, imposing social constraints that dictate their marginalized place in society (Opportunity International).
We could make the situation better by removing barriers to economics, correcting harmful social stratification, and improving access to property and the right to own such property. Reform in places that allow legal discrimination and where women lack a political voice is necessary to reverse centuries of inequality. Yet, education may be the best way to reach women, giving them self-efficacy and value in society. Empowerment includes the conciseness of marginalization and the decision to change one’s circumstances (ENotes).
Microloans allow small business in rural areas to have access to traditional banking services. Recent trends have showed increasing numbers of women who own small businesses, especially in Asia and Africa. Microfinance organizations such as KIVA and Opportunity International allow men and women alike to build businesses, support their families, and transform their communities. Breaking free from the poverty trap is hard, but opportunities to support development and enable investment give hope to poor all over the world.
“The future of gender equality in Kenya now depends on the successful implementation of the new constitution.” (Opportunity International)
Kenya has been working towards gender equality and their new constitution provided a number of changes, especially in the economic realm.
Positive changes for Kenyan women (Vital Voices):
- Women’s access to institutions
- Access to justice
- Ability to control and use property
- Promotion of equality in business
In Kenya, micro financing has provided opportunities for women to participate in the economy and begin to lay the foundation for sustainable development. By allowing women to independently own and operate business, these micro-lenders help foster the skills and abilities of women all over the globe.