In her Gayle Lemmon’s TED X talk, she mainly focused on the fact that money is power. For many women, money could mean security, opportunity, and other positive associations with the word that are normally overlooked. Lemmon speaks of changing the narrative of women from being the victim, to instead allowing women to flourish financially and not be marginalized.
According to the Equal Rights Organization
“Women in male-dominated industries and those who are marginalized by race, poverty, immigration status, and/or sexual orientation often confront multiple barriers to equal opportunity and fair treatment at work.”
This foundation came up with a list of reasons why women are marginalized within the workforce and ways to combat their disadvantage:
1. Seeking equal opportunity and redress for women facing sexual harassment on the job.
2. Eliminating hiring and promotion barriers for women, including in male-dominated fields.
3. Seeking wage justice and equal pay and promotion opportunities for women workers.
4. Facilitating re-entry into the workforce for formally incarcerated women.
While there has been progress in a number of countries concerning narrowing the gender gap, disparities still continue. Women haven’t met equality with men on such measures as educational success, wages, political empowerment and economic contribution.
The majority of achieved progress has been established in developed nations-whereas developing regions of the world continue to be significantly marginalized and undervalued.
A major reason why gender gaps still exist amongst us is that in the past—leadership has supported the belief that men make better leaders than women in all aspects of life this is still common today. While it is true that female leaders have emerged in the past few decades, it’s still something to digest for some people. In Sub-Saharan Africa, we see that societies still strongly believe that men lead and the women follow.
After reading about Women and Economic Development—Microfinancing sounds like it has given many women and others in poverty the opportunity for the start to a new life (or to begin the life that many never could because of financial constraints). However, as Moyo would tell us, this could be seen as a form of aid. On the flip side, microfinancing appears to help many learn how to become self-sufficient; while learning to pay back loans and etc. Lemmon provides clear examples within her TED X talk that women have become more self-sufficient because of micro-loans. Lemmon also said women are also starting other businesses despite the barriers against them.
Lemmon however, said that moving beyond the word “microfinancing” is extremely important for women’s self-confidence and growth. I think that microfinancing is a good start, as long as the money is paid back once such women are established. Growing out of microfinancing is important for the economy, and for the women to continue to flourish. Lemmon said the solution is to see the potential in emerging women, and to invest in women’s economic potential. This is about global growth and global employment, just as Lemmon said. However, this is also a battle about culture, and changing the mindset of many in order to get people to believe in the bigger possibilities of women. Lemmon said, “When we change the way we see ourselves, others will follow.”
According to the women’s history website:
“Over 85 percent of Ethiopian women reside in rural areas, where peasant families are engaged primarily in subsistence agriculture. Rural women are integrated into the rural economy, which is basically labor intensive and which exacts a heavy physical toll on all, including children.”
This means that less women are in the actual workforce, giving them jobs in urban areas with lower wage. Not only is this wage discrepancy an issue in SSA, it’s an issue around the world.
The website also said:
About 40 percent of employed women in urban areas worked in the service sector, mainly in hotels, restaurants, and bars, according to a 1976 government survey. Employment in production and related areas (such as textiles and food processing) accounted for 25 percent of the female work force, followed by sales, which accounted for about 11 percent. The survey also showed that women factory workers in Addis Ababa earned about a quarter of the wages men earned for the same type of work.