COVID-19 has worsened the gender inequalities in most sectors. This calls for women empowerment activities to enhance their adaptive capacity and resilience for facing the crisis. They need to be more safe by maintaining social distance to provide them access to different pieces of training, resources related to healthcare, finance, stress management, and efficient communication. It is essential to enhance their digital literacy in the technologically advanced era, especially for women belonging to the low-income group.

What is women empowerment?
Women empowerment refers to promoting the sense of self-worth in women so that they can decide their own choices and influence social change for the betterment of everyone.
The pandemic fueled the economic crisis, making the women workers prone to job insecurity and a decline in worker rights.
Reducing the digital gender gap:
Women need to be equipped with the proper knowledge and capacity to become empowered in these crucial times. Since social distancing is critical to stay safe, engagement can be promoted by increasing digital tools. This can be leveraged for enhancing workplace support.
Once the digital gender gap is reduced, there will be lesser inequalities and better chances of enhancing the skills and versatility of women employees.

Women’s empowerment activities:
A just and sustainable world can be created with women’s empowerment. Business is one such field that has a huge potential to contribute to its advancement. This can be done in the following ways:
i. Provide them access to necessary resources which are needed for meeting their requirements. This can be material, social, or human resources such as access to knowledge, skills, and creativity.
ii. Attracting and retaining new talent. Motivate them to come up with new ideas related to products and process improvements.
iii. Integration of gender into a supplier management system for effective workplace programs to focus on health, financial literacy, and gender relations among women.
iv. Making decisions that can help women advance in their operational fields, such as developing guidelines and policies which are gender-sensitive.
v. It is also essential to develop effective recruitment, retention, procurement, and corporate investments.
vi. Entering into a partnership with community organisations, NGOs, and business partners for empowering women in the supply chain at a global level. Organisations can work with suppliers for building capacity on women empowerment and developing supportive workplaces.
vii. Efforts to shape public opinion and public policy to create a supportive environment with opportunities for the advancement of women. This can be in engaging them in industry collaborations, communication campaigns, research, and advocacy.
viii. Ensure participation of women in inclusive governance and decision making as well as matters related to COVID-19
viii. Investing in public or social infrastructure, including sanitisation, energy, transport, care services, and others.

Other steps that can be taken to empower women:
i. Expansion and accessibility to social safety nets.
ii. Organisations should enhance the retention rate of women employees and generate new decent and environmentally sustainable jobs in public and social infrastructure.
iii. Encouraging entrepreneurship for boosting the sustainability of micro, small and medium scale enterprises. This can be done by providing them better access to training, latest technologies and encouraging innovation.
iv. Offering extended paid parental leave for better child care for women employees.
v. Sustainable healthcare system which is accessible to all irrespective of their gender. Special services can be provided to victims of gender-based violence to offer them a better life by empowering them to be independent.
vi. For women healthcare workers, there has to be better physical, emotional and socio-economic security

The primary aim of women’s empowerment must be to make women self-reliant to have a healthy physical and mental state even during these crucial times when they are bound to stay at home. There should be supportive laws for women employees in organisations to feel confident enough to raise their voice against any kind of workplace
abuse. There has to be speedy justice for any violence against women, and robust social assistance must be offered in the form of monetary and emotional support. This can help women keep moving ahead in their careers and have a healthy social life even during the pandemic.

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