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  TERM PAPER GENDER AND DEVELOPMENT .1 Gender empowerment is a prevalent topic in today‟s world. It is particularly very significant to development of our society. Gender and empowerment is mainly advocated for to help in  bridging the gap between men and women but it should not be assumed that it is only for the  benefit of the womenfolk. To begin with let‟s define the following terms:   Gender refers to culturally based expectations of women and men in terms of their roles, that is, the mirror of society‟s expectations. It is distinguishes the s ocially constructed forms which is  biologically determined aspects of being man or woman. Empowerment refers to increasing the spiritual, political, social or economic strength of individuals and communities. It often involves the empowered developing confidence in their own capacities.   Development is defined as the positive transformation or change of people‟s way of living, attitudes and behavior as a result of their exposure or access to relevant, adequate and timely information services courtesy of the prevailing digital age. It also refers to a social condition within a nation in which the needs of its population are satisfied by the rational and sustainable use of natural resources and systems. Gender empowerment transforms women from silent isolated passive figures caught in the murky shadows of oppressive traditions and cultures into articulate self controlled forward looking determined to defend their rights and moving freely in the bright lights of knowledge and choice. Empowerment is probably the totality of the following; having the power of decision-making on their own, having access to information and resources, having the ability to exercise assertiveness in collective decision- making, increasing one‟s positive self image and ov ercoming stigma, having the ability to change others perceptions by democratic means, having the ability to learn skills for improving one‟s personal or group power, having positive thinking on the ability to make change and having a range of options which you can make independent choices (either NO or YES). Gender empowerment can be achieved through putting in place measures to ensure equality and empowerment is achieved. This measures may include: Education; by awarding scholarships to deserving members of both genders for instance the EQUITY/MASTERCARD FOUNDATION scholarships. By sensitizing communities that previously neglected the education of girl child such as the Maasai community. By using the quota system during university entry to the advantage of previously disenfranchised girls and allowing females to undertake courses that were previously viewed to be masculine such as engineering, masonry and many others.  TERM PAPER GENDER AND DEVELOPMENT .2 Employment; by giving opportunities to women to share in senior managerial, professional and technical positions and also giving them equal compensation as their male peers in the workplaces. Politics and governance; allowing equal representations for both genders by using such measures as, the two-thirds gender rule which states that no one gender should constitute more than two-thirds representation in parliament. Introducing county women representative positions and nominating sixteen women to the senate, has also helped to bridge the gap. In Kenya today, women have a real voice in all decision making institutions, from the judiciary to the civil service as well as the private sector and the civil society, so they can participate equally with men in public dialogue and decisions that will determine the future of their families and countries.   Gender empowerment has both positive and negative impacts to development. Its application, how it is received and how it influences the society may bring in either the positive or the negative impacts. The positives may include: Empowering women in education, employment and business will enable them realize their  potential and free themselves from the shackles of dependency. It also strengthens the family unit as with their economic base widened, there are able to take great care of them. In addition, educated women tend to delay child birth and they too have a lower birthrate compared to their uneducated peers, this reduces the population and enables them to take care of the children well they have quite well. Easy access to credit facilities from institutions such as the Kenya Women Finance Trust, Faulu Trust, „chamas‟ and other financial institutions which enables them to venture into self employment by engaging in small informal income generating activities. Putting in place measures in politics and governance has enabled women to participate in national development at a higher level than it was previously. The higher representation of women in parliament has enabled them to bring in gender sensitive bills such as the gender violence bill by former nominated M.P, now Supreme Court judge, Ms. Njoki Ndung‟u, which has been integral in bringing down cases of violence against women and girls and the marriage  bill, which has clauses that seek to empower married women against exploitation during cases such as divorce or when they lose their spouses and on inheritance cases. In sports, allowing and encouraging the participation of women in competitive sports disciplines such as football, rugby, volleyball, tennis and many other sport disciplines, has freed them from idleness and gave them a way of empowering themselves economically, for instance Mathare Youth Sports Association women‟s league involving teams mainly from the slums has benefitted many young girls and enabled them to have a source of livelihood. In the field of agriculture, women have benefitted by being allowed to own farms and engage themselves in commercial farming rather than subsistence farming. This has been made possible  TERM PAPER GENDER AND DEVELOPMENT .3 through access to credit facilities, giving them advice on farming activities and improving their access to the markets.   Gender empowerment also has its negatives, they may include: Lose of gender identity; women  being independent and assertiveness is as a result of empowerment, this may lead them to developing an ego and go against their roles and the society‟s expectations of them, for instance some modern, employed or financially well off women tend to have children out of wedlock, out of their own will and making, t hey think of men only as „sperm donors‟. Some married ones too, neglect their marital and wifely duties in the pretext of being busy with their jobs and claiming equality to their male haves. Conflict between the genders; conflict may occur when members of one gender feels the other is working against their empowerment or after them being empowered , they start acting independent of the other gender. For example, many men have not had not readily acknowledged and accepted women as their equals and still view them through the lenses of their traditions which look down upon and vilify the females. Women have not taken this lying down and their attempt at being respected has led to even more conflict. These conflicts have contributed to the rising cases of divorce. Concentration of energies on empowering one gender at the expense of the other; an example is the sensitization and promotion of the girl child education which has brought many positives to them, such as increasing their school enrolment and completion rates, excellence in their studies and their lives thereafter. Whilst this is being done, the boy child has been neglected, leaving them to indulge themselves in drugs and crime. Dressing; women empowerment has been instrumental in increasing their positive self image and independence. They have tended to express it through their dressing, which has overtime became more provocative and tend to look towards exposing flesh. Micro-minis, tight clothing, see- through dresses, open cleavages and many more form the staple of many of today‟s women clothing. Society‟s view on this has been divided down the middle, but it is very much a product of empowerment.   Gender empowerment as much as it has its negative effects, it is very much important and integral to development of today‟s society. Both men and women‟s joint effort is required to help achieve gender empowerment, the government, non-governmental institutions must also come together in a united front to see the full realization of this third Millennium Development Goal (promoting gender equality and women empowerment) before the agreed timeline of 2015.    TERM PAPER GENDER AND DEVELOPMENT .4 BIBLIOGRAPHY:  1.   Burns, Justine, Malcolm Keswell, and Murray Leibbrandt, 2005. “Social assistance ,  gender and the aged in South Africa.”   “  Feminist Economics ” 11(2) : 103 -115.  2.   Matthias Doepke, Michele Tertilt, June 2010, “  Does Female Empowerment Promote    Economic Development  .”  3. empowering-women  4.  
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