Social Entrepreneurship & Gender Equality for Women in Developing Countries

Today is International Women’s Day!

All About International Women’s Day

It’s the 8th of March and it is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. It’s also a day to recognize the challenges that women face today, particularly in their plight towards gender equality throughout the world.

Now, obviously I am a man. Nevertheless, I fully support women’s empowerment and their increased participation in the decision making of their home and in the community.

Social Entrepreneurship for Women

As this blog is all about social entrepreneurship, I also encourage women and women’s groups to use social entrepreneurship to achieve gender equality, particularly in developing countries.

Contributing to the Empowerment of Women in Bangladesh

International Womens Day
Now, I actually celebrated International Women’s Day today in Bangladesh with the Rohinga Refugee community.

While there were activities for women and girls, I’m also an advocate for gender equality programs for men too.

Particularly in countries where gender inequalities are entrenched in cultural and historical roots, I believe that educating men and young boys on gender equality is just as important as empowering women and girls too.

Importance of Gender Equality Worldwide, including in Developing Countries

Yesterday, a reader of this blog from Sweden came and visited me in Bangladesh. She interviewed me about concepts about gender equality in Bangladesh and the Myanmar refugee community.

It was interesting that throughout the discussion, we talked about the differences between formal equality and equality of outcomes.

On the one hand, governments and organizations can push forward policies and laws which call for 50% participation of women. Nevertheless, the actual involvement of women in the community and the internal feeling of equality for women is what I think is more important.

The equality on paper is important I think to get things started. However, I personally believe that gender equality in reality is what really counts.

Gender Equality: Intentions and Reality

Social Entrepreneurship for Women in Developing Countries
It was shocking that we discussed and admitted that there were few womens’ groups that had been formed in the area that I currently work with in Bangladesh.

I strongly believe that there needs to be greater encouragement of social entrepreneurship for women in Bangladesh and other developing countries.

Women need to be able to start up their own groups, their own enterprises for the benefit of their community.

Education as a Catalyst for Cultural Shifts to Gender Equality

I think it starts from the belief and confidence in a collective group of women to be able to be leaders. I am disturbed that in some parts of Bangladesh, it seems that some women feel disempowered.

In my opinion, there needs to be a greater shift in the gender equality consciousness. I think that shift comes about through education.

Unfortunately, cultural shifts like this to increased gender equality can sometimes take years.

The efforts to empower women, especially in developing countries, is still worth it nonetheless.