Traditionally, rural women in the Philippines do all the household related chores. The scope of their function includes cooking, cleaning, taking care of the children, washing clothes, repairs, budgeting and helping in the farm. Most of the time, they can no longer attend to their personal needs. Facts: more than half of the world’s population are women; but women are the less heard and the less recognized, especially in the rural communities.
There are many ways to help these women; ways that empower them to increase their spiritual, political, social, educational, gender economic strengths of individuals in the communities. Let me share with you a story of Elena. She is a mother of 7 children married to a fisher man. Due to Elena’s busy schedule including doing household chores, one day she wasn’t able to cook. To avoid problems with her husband, she asked for food from her neighbor. But after that, all she got was a punch from her drunk husband. Elena realized after that incident that this had to stop.
She joined a self-help group of women in the village. A group of empowered women who provide various training and livelihoods where the products can be sold into the market and can contribute to their household income by their own earning.
Elena began to earn through civic farming, food processing and participating in the village activities. She then saves money and uses the resources to learn how to use it. Even her husband has been helping her in planting seeds as one of the sources of income. Now, she has learned how to value herself and value her life.
There are many ways to give opportunity among women to be empowered. To be empowered, a woman must have equal education, have access to land and employment but also agencies that can help them to use those rights, capabilities, resources, and opportunities to make strategic choices and decisions.