Innovation has transformed women’s lives. It has brought improvements in their well-being in terms of health, nutrition and even life span. It has provided increased access to women when it comes to employment opportunities, savings and credit.
Be it in the use of foot-pedaled water pumps or even property rights for women, we are seeing a gradual shift in society where archaic and patriarchal attitudes used to limit options for women.
Innovation has made womenfolk realize their potential by developing their personal abilities and making choices without the limitations set by stereotypes, rigid gender roles, or prejudices.
We’re increasingly seeing the difference in perceptions, since we now see behaviors, aspirations and needs of women being considered, valued and favored as much as being equal to those enjoyed by men.
The Power of Innovation
The world has never experienced such dynamic changes in technologies, economies and societies before than in the last three decades. Innovation has transformed the lives of women in developing world through new ideas, products and practices and now it is seen as a force for social change.
Empowering women who live in poverty is essential for intrinsic human rights as well as global development and economic growth. Today, innovation serves as a powerful equalizer between genders, resulting in the growth of untapped strategies that can bring substantial benefits for millions of women.
From Innovations to Women Empowerment
Innovation and women’s empowerment each has essential value for human progress. Women empowered by innovation can foster greater gender equality, civil society and academia. They can create and harness better solutions to difficult problems.
Since its creation, Pakistan inherited the menace of poverty, with the women populace bearing the brunt of it. Various cultural, societal and religious reasons prevented them from playing a productive role in society, leaving Pakistan’s true potential hamstrung as a result.
The gender equality goals may not have been realized in the past but now a wide range of institutions form business, civil society and government have committed resources, rhetoric and political capital to make women independent. These available resources have shifted the paradigms in the form of unprecedented opportunity to forge new alliances and unleash innovation to achieve women’s empowerment.
Take the example of reproductive technologies and agricultural innovations. They are just a tip of the iceberg that can empower women on multiple levels – be it on individual, household, economic, social and political levels.
Although there are many innovations that can be thought to have had a positive impact on women’s lives in Pakistan but still expansive efforts are needed to address the fundamental challenges to women’s empowerment and gender equality.
Events such as TEDx are contributing to the society by recognizing strong ideas at national level for international exposure across global community. Apart from other issues, the annual TEDx conducted event mainly focuses on women’s empowerment and spreading ideas about women’s rights, social, equality and human rights.
It encourages the emerging talent in the region, with many young Pakistani startups coming forward to contribute to the entrepreneurial ecosystem of the country. It is contributing a lot to change the social norms because women’s empowerment requires transformation of inequitable gender attitudes to provide them their due rights to education, health, work and civic participation.
Innovations such as these for women’s economic Renaissance can rapidly result in a large number of self-employed and wage-employed women.
Capitalizing for Empowerment
Empowerment of the female demographic is a dynamic and complex process but there are some common approaches that serve as a catalyst for change in society. These play a major role for innovation to kick start women’s empowerment and ultimately bring gender equality in our society.
Engaging women in design and diffusion:
Women engaged in design and diffusion processes are better able to ensure that they address the requirements of other women. It produces positive and potentially significant impacts on women’s empowerment.
Break boundaries for strategic partnerships:
Partnerships that remove boundaries are important in deriving successful innovations for women’s empowerment as they reach resources that can yield larger-scale results.
Innovation must have an inherent value:
Innovations must be aimed at achieving mass-scale diffusion of ideas, technologies or approaches.
Favorable societal conditions:
Successful innovations capitalize on multiple trajectories of social, economic and political transformations. When innovations leverage favorable societal conditions, they mostly trigger bigger shifts in women’s lives.
Options to reach poor women:
Efforts to empower women should not be restricted to few areas, it is important to consider strategic diffusion options to reach poor women. Government can provide facilitating agents, civil society organizations; women’s networks and leaders can play an important role in accelerating the process of empowering poor women.
As a way of strengthening the confidence, personal and professional skill building can provide opportunities to women. Private sector and civil society organizations can strengthen business sustainability and women’s empowerment.
Women empowerment is very important for the progress of a country or a nation. Frequent training and awareness programs can be arranged to make women aware of their rights and to equip them for exercising just demands. Adequate implementations of laws are crucial to provide a secure environment to women for prospering themselves.
By learning new skills and using digital ICTs, women can build their self-confidence, increase their economic power, independence and make better-informed decisions. It can enable women to mobilize more effectively, gain power to realize legal entitlements and access to economic and educational opportunities.