Best Journals published an article in 2014 titled “Life skills for women empowerment” where they discussed four dimensions of empowerment.
- Power Within
- Power to
- Power Over
- Power With
Power within is described as individual changes in confidence and consciousness. Psychology today says this about Adolescence:
“Adolescence can be a time of both disorientation and discovery. The transitional period can bring up issues of independence and self-identity; many adolescents and their peers face tough choices regarding schoolwork, sexuality, drugs, alcohol, and social life. Peer groups, romantic interests, and external appearance tend to naturally increase in importance for some time during a teen’s journey toward adulthood.”
Empowering young women in a way that creates certainty within themselves is a crucial step in securing their future self-identity. Entrepreneur skills require an individual to gain personal skills in self awareness, knowledge of rights, values, and attitudes. To be successful in business will also require decision making, assertiveness, negotiation, and refusal skills.
Power to refers to access. Access to increasing skills, education, earning income and other markets. Despite progress in recent years, women still face barriers and disadvantages throughout the education system throughout their lifetimes. Unicef.org states
“Girls’ education is essential to the achievement of quality learning relevant to the 21st century, including girls’ transition to and performance in secondary school and beyond. Adolescent girls that attend school delay marriage and childbearing, and acquire information and skills that lead to increased earning power. Evidence shows that the return to a year of secondary education for girls correlates to a 25 per cent increase in wages later in life.”
Entrepreneur skills teaches teenage girls the ability to seek out opportunities instead of passively relying on others (family, guidance counselor, peers) to offer suggestions that will inevitably limit her based on their experience. Entrepreneurs know how to research markets, seek out resources, and create plans to reach their goals.
Power over refers to overcoming and change. One change is in power relations in households and communities. Loveisrespect.org lists statistics on youth dating violence, including the following:
Girls and young women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence — almost triple the national average.
Among female victims of intimate partner violence, 94% of those age 16-19 and 70% of those age 20-24 were victimized by a current or former boyfriend or girlfriend.
Entrepreneurship teaches interpersonal skills like communication, expressing of feelings, networking, and advocacy. Girls who have a strong network are less likely to isolate and hide when a situation is abusive or remain silent when one of their peers is in an unhealthy situation.
Power With refers to organization and community. It includes the advocacy for others who are powerless. A society that does not encourage women to contribute to all sectors of life to the fullest extent of their abilities is limiting itself as women make up half of the society. Communities work better when all members participate equally. Greater gender equality can enhance economic productivity, improve development outcomes for the next generation, and make institutions and policies more representative.
Entrepreneurs understand the value of giving back. When a young woman is seen as a resource she feels valued. Having self value is the key to believing in oneself. When a girl believes in herself she has the ability to envision more for her future. She lifts the invisible limitations and can soar through any glass ceiling.