Panel Discussion Report 22 -Role of NGO’s in Women Empowerment for Economic Development

Civil Society organizations are the pioneers of the social changes around the globe. In respective of attitude development towards a social issue, it needs attainment of a plan and skilled workforce. CSO’s provide appropriate strategies and even come up with the workforce to implement the plans. The role of NGO, NPO and voluntary organizations in different countries or different regions have played significant roles in serving the greater goals of humanity and justice. Over the past few years, there has been an increasing emphasis on girls and information and communication technology in the development sector. Large government donors, NGOs and the private sector believe girls could play a big role in resolving poverty and making development gains through ICT. (Raftree. L.)

Described by (ESCAP, 1999), Gender discrimination, lack of confidence, language barrier, low literacy, lack of time and money, restricted mobility due to cultural factors or safety often prevent women from taking advantage of ICT. In most countries, Men hold most of the top jobs, while women are over-represented in lower level ICT occupations. “World Bank findings demonstrate that similar restrictions have imposed massive costs throughout the Arab States Region, where the gender gap in economic opportunity remains the widest in the world today” stated by International Telecommunication Union. (ITU News, 2013). According to (USAID, 2013), NGO’s try to reduce the barriers women face to using and possessing mobile technologies, including literacy, the cost of handsets and mobile services, and traditional attitudes about women owning ICT assets. One of many such programs is, TAG. “The Tech Age Girls (TAG) program encourages and develops skills of promising young female leaders by providing them with specialized information technology (IT) training and opportunities to engage in critical public discussion.” (IREX, 2013)

Women play important role in households as well, with the empowerment of NGO’s, whereas, Women as a caring mother of children, a good wife of husband, and a model leader of a community. With the supportive role of different NGO’s around the world, millions of women are now engaging in social and political actions and dialogues to bring change to false norms and misconceptions. At the end of the day, that women in home is taking good care to her family with the knowledge and affection. Additionally, economically empowered women have more rights in planning and taking part in making decision of the household (together with the husband). It is proven in almost every cases, that when women take part in earning, they have more acceptance in family planning or even social planning. It also give her access to higher education and improved livelihood facilities. Furthermore, empowered Single mother play a very crucial role of both mother and father in family. (Ivanova. P., 2007). In places, thus, NGO’s focus more on empowering single mothers for a sustainable growth.

First of all, in our panel discussion, we have chosen ‘Role of NGO in women empowerment for economic development’ as our topic. Before that, we have made a conversation regarding the topic. We had many kinds of ideas and topics to be presented, such as human rights, government and civil society etc. After that we have agreed on Women rights as four of my panelists were ladies and they want to raise their voice on aspects of women empowerment. So luckily there was no disagreements among us about the topic, though later on two of my panelists could not join in panel discussion because of their personal problems. Then our lecturer said to be more specific about the topic, so we made it as the role of NGO in women empowerment, especially for economic developments. We decided to talk about different countries first, then we moved to different aspects of life, so that we can relate with ourselves. We chose this topic, as we feel that, women empowerment is a serious issue nowadays. There are many steps that have been taken by CSO’s, but those did not get that much publicity. So we decided to bring up the remarkable role played by our NGO’s in this sector.

The chosen topic seemed reasonable to me, because it was a good subject which needs more discussion. As we are approaching more to globalization, we are facing more importance of bringing women to the field. In this process, governments cannot do alone all the work. Hence, CSO’s take the responsibility to work along with governments, and facilitate women empowerment for a better nation building economy system. So to say, I believe the overall presentation of our panel discussion was acceptable, it was interactive and enjoyable of us, and we gave our opinion freely and confidently, even though we had to face sudden loss due to two missing panelists, which didn’t leave us time to react.

Our strength of panel discussion was elaborating on true facts and figures, and in-depth problem solving approach towards the issue. We talked about the suitable aspects of women empowerment, so we explained accordingly. Also we gave real events of NGO’s who are taking care of many women empowerment projects.

Our weakness was, none of us had a personal experience of working in a NGO, so we could not give any personal experience about this. Also we have to suffer from the unexpected leave of two panelists, which affected us a lot in terms of arrangement and mood of presentation.

This panel discussion actually helped to rethink and revise the known and unknown perspectives of women empowerment. In this process, I came to know many new facts regarding current status of women empowerment and NGO’s that are working in different parts of the world. So from my speech and from my panelist’s speech we learned how NGO’s help women to empower themselves in a sustainable way, how this empowerment is affecting the family, the community and the nation, and what are the reasons behind the difficulties around women empowerment. In our panel discussion, we found wonderful and peaceful spectators, they gave their kind feedback by asking questions. One of the questions was, how to empower those women who are culturally been discouraged. It was a good question, as we can see the truth in many Arab or Asian countries, women are not allowed to work outside. We answered with critical thinking. Such as, the problem comes from the culture, we cannot alter the culture. But we can change the mindset of the people, sometimes people are arrogant and afraid, even though they want to change. In this case, when certain help from an organization or government comes forward, they feel safe to approach to a change and thus, giving them knowledge and safety, we can empower those culturally hindered women.

With that question, we have finished our allocated time for panel discussion, so we could not entertain more questions, though there were many. So to conclude, it was a very wonderful learning experience for all of us, to reflect upon our actions and intentions to facilitate and aware ourselves towards social justice for women empowerment. In the long run, it is guaranteed that, positive change requires rapport between men and women.

References

A bright future in ICT — opportunities for a new generation of women. (2013).   ITU News. Retrieved from:https://itunews.itu.int/En/2471-A-bright-future-in-ICT-opportunities-for-a-new-generation-of-women-.note.aspx

Harnessing Innovation For Women’s Empowerment. (2013, April 24). USAID. Retrieved from: http://www.usaid.gov/what-we-do/gender-equality-and-womens-empowerment/addressing-gender-programming/harnessing

Empowerment of Women in Asia and the Pacific, United Nations Economic And Social Commission For Asia And The Pacific, (1999, February 18). ESCAP. Retrieved from: http://www.unescap.org/55/e1133e.htm

Ivanova. P. (2007, March 5). Women’s roles in the Household: Popular Press Depictions of gender roles in the USA (1870-1960) [Web log post]. Retrieved from: http://netbuzzing.blogspot.com/2007/03/womens-roles-in-household-popular-press.html

Raftree. L. (Tuesday 27 November 2012). Empowering girls through information, communication and technology, The Guardian, Retrieved from http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development-professionals-network/2012/nov/27/improving-ict-access-to-girls

Tech Age Girls (TAG). (2013). IREX. Retrieved from: http://www.irex.org/project/tech-age-girls-tag

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