Pillars of Female Empowerment!
How can we use capitalism and business to create sustainable models for improving women's lives and creating female empowerment? To be considered a feminist enterprise, a project must address at least one of the following areas where females in the world are often disempowered:
1) Intellectual Empowerment: One of the greatest barriers to equality is restricting access to education for women and girls. In many places in the world, girls are forbidden from attending school, not taught to read or write and limited to only learning domestic duties. Though the situation is changing, in places where girls are free to go to school, many young women see business or current affairs as less feminine. We argue that female education and independent intellectual thought is a bedrock for personal empowerment and equality.
2) Economic Empowerment: Women make up a disproportionate number of the most economically disadvantaged on the planet. Still, many women have no choice but to rely on a man to provide for them. Projects that provide women with alternatives to this paradigm and aid women in attaining greater financial independence make some of the greatest leaps forward towards greater empowerment for women.
3) Physical Empowerment: Ending violence against women is still one of the primary areas of focus for feminists worldwide. Laws and law enforcement can only do so much to protect women and more needs to be done to encourage women's physical empowerment. What can we do to help women and girls feel more confident to defend and fight for themselves? One way could be to advocate self-defense and weapons training including mace, tear gas, pepper spray, guns.
4) Environmental Empowerment: Endeavors that protect the environment also serves to help women. Across the world, women's work is disproportionally more connected to the earth and dramatically affected by climate change. Initiatives that improve humanity's relationship with Mother Earth also help to improve the lives of women and our attitudes towards the feminine. Connecting to nature is also empowering to women who in a modern world can often feel disconnected from nature sometimes out of fear of being perceived as less feminine.
5) Reproductive Empowerment: Providing women with the supplies and access to information that allows them to make informed decisions about their own bodies and reproductive health. The after effects of a sexual encounter generally have far greater repercussions for women and an unwanted pregnancy can seriously limit a woman's options in life.
6) Sexual Empowerment: Recent years have seen a growing movement against the severe disparity between men and women in terms of language and perceptions of sexual expression: from attempts to legalize sex work to SlutWalks around the world, many people are working towards shifting the balance of this double standard.
7) Legal Empowerment: Legal empowerment applies in part to each of the other areas previously detailed. When business lobbies on behalf of women or works to change the laws to move towards greater rights and equality for women, they would certainly then be classified an ecofeminist enterprise.