For a long time, there has been increased debate over the role of women in the economy. Culture has been one of the factors that have limited their role. Most people argued that women were restricted by their gender to the home and in the raising of children. The role of women was considered to be professional housewives. This means that women could only participate in subordinate functions within the economy.
In the recent past; there has been increased cultural transformation within the society in relation to gender. The discussion of this paper aims at illustrating the historical and cultural changes that have occurred with respect to women.
Women have had limited participation in decision-making. This has affected various spheres such from household decisions to decisions in legislative matters of the economy. This resulted from the patriarchal nature of the society and also the economic limitation of the women (Women and economic empowerment p.4).
With regard to change, there has been increased empowerment of women in relation to various aspects. The empowerment of women has resulted in a change of various historical-cultural structures within society. One of the dimensions of empowerment that has resulted is related to property rights. For a long time, women did not have the right to own resources be they tangible or intangible, for instance, land or financial assets.
There has been a trend within society with regard to the contribution of women in the economy. Women have been identified to play a significant role in economic development. This has resulted in their increased economic empowerment. Change has resulted from the fact that there has been an increased need for necessitating the distribution of wealth as a form of empowering women. This is all aimed at resulting in the desired economic development. For instance; there has been increased creation of avenues through which women can access financial resources such as through microfinance institutions. The effect is that this has resulted in a multiplier effect within the economy thus accelerating the rate of economic growth.
Cultural change has also resulted from the increased empowerment of women in relation to education (Women and economic empowerment p.9). Historically, the education of the girl child was given less emphasis. This resulted in their increased discrimination within the society. As a way of empowering them, there has increased campaign in relation to women’s education. The result is that there has been an increased opportunity for women to access decent and better-paying job opportunities. For instance; women have been able to venture into jobs that were regarded to belong to the male gender in various sectors of the economy such as engineering, chief executive officers and
With regard to change, there has been a change related to the rights of women. Women did not have the right to vote. In most economies such as Japan, the constitution denied women a chance to vote since 1947 (Fingas para.6). They were also not given the chance to contest for parliamentary positions. This means that their participation in government positions was limited. Their educational empowerment has resulted in cultural change even within societies where with strict cultural backgrounds such as the Arab countries. This has seen women venture into the political arena. For instance; within the Arab countries, women have been incorporated in senior government positions such as the ministers (Haifa Para. 2).
This Educational empowerment has also resulted in an increased number of women venturing into business. This is due to their increased entrepreneurial skills. This has contributed to an increase in the rate of economic growth. According to a study in the Gulf countries, it is estimated that women have an approximate amount of $ 40 billion in relation to their personal wealth resulting from business. For a long time, the male gender has been known to incorporate technology within their business. In the recent past; a trend is emerging where women are integrating technology within their business. The effect of this is that their contribution to economic development will increase (Women and economic empowerment p.12).
In conclusion, it is evident that there has been a rampant historical and cultural change in relation to women and economics. Women have been considered as an important agent towards economic development. Historical and cultural change has resulted from their economic empowerment through various avenues such as access to resources. Education has also contributed to a culture in relation to the nature of jobs that women were supposed to perform. This has affected various spheres of the economy such as politics, social and the business environment.
- Al Kaylani, Haifa. “Women are agents of change” Partner in Humanity, 2008.
- Du Bois & Demeril, Trough Women’s Eyes, An American History 2nd edition Fingas,” Status and role change among Japanese women.” Associated Content, 2008.
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- “Women economic empowerment – Presentation transcript.”,2008 Web.