International Women's Day: What Empowerment Really Means

International Women's Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

Five Talents is proud to work with women around the world to fight poverty and build a brighter future. Eighty percent of our program participants are women. Many are mothers, business owners, community leaders, and champions for development.

There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women.
— Kofi Anan

What is Empowerment?

Empowering women entails more than just striving for social or economic equality. Empowerment means helping women (and men) to achieve their God-given dignity and potential. This is the essence of what Five Talents is about, empowering the poor and oppressed in society to live with decency, honor and respect.

Education, Advocacy, Opportunity, and Faith

We have found that education, advocacy, opportunity, and faith are important tools for empowerment. In the developing world, women’s empowerment often begins with education. As women gain access to education (consider that in some parts of the world up to 84% of women are illiterate), they gain confidence and skills to make a difference in their homes and communities. Education opens opportunities that may not have existed in the past.

To access these opportunities, there may be a need for shifts in attitudes or practices that hinder healthy development. This is where advocacy comes in. By raising awareness and building consensus, local leaders are able to effect long-term change. Five Talents is proud to work with local leaders and churches around the world to serve the poor while empowering women and marginalized communities.

We are Dinka and we are proud of our culture. For us, ladies keeping money is very new. Ladies now can be in the community: girls can go to school and women can leave their compound. The wife does not have to be dependent. They can be literate. They can speak in public. Women can lead. . . Females can be problem-solvers and resolve disputes for the first time.”
— William and Joseph, Community Leaders, Wau, South Sudan
International Women’s Day - Women’s Empowerment

Through advocacy, training, and networking, new opportunities are created at home and in the marketplace. As women are empowered, they gain recognition and respect and their contributions in society are honored.

Access to financial services is an important part of Five Talents’ work and increases women’s decision-making power in the household while improving their socio-economic status in the community. Through economic empowerment of women, we’ve seen a reduction in gender-based violence, an increase in healthy families, and improved outcomes for children and spouses.

The Role of Faith in Women’s Empowerment

For Five Talents, faith plays a key role in empowerment. While our programs are open to participants of any faith, our approach is rooted in a Christian understanding of development. We believe that women and men are created in the image of God with equal dignity and value. We believe that both forgiveness and transformation are possible and that God calls women and men and people of all nations and backgrounds to use their talents and resources to work for justice, goodness, and shalom.

On International Women’s Day, Five Talents celebrates the dignity, resilience, beauty, talent, and faith of empowered women across the globe. As part of the celebration, every gift to Five Talents will be matched.