Empowerment means self-realization around my ability to be independent, recognize my abilities and work to improve my present situation. Therefore, female empowerment refers to breaking gender gaps, optimizing my role as a woman in my surroundings, and taking action.
In Costa Rica, in two indigenous communities and one rural community, Dìwö Ambiental, the non-governmental organization I work for, promotes women's empowerment through the Green Generation Program. This empowerment reflects in the community functions that these women exercise as decision-makers, leaders, mothers, and heads of households. The way in which Dìwö supports these women is through accompaniment, training, and workshops focused on capacity building so that these women can learn new ways to enhance what they already have at their disposal while innovating with new economic, environmental, social, and communicational tools, and applying them in their lives as well as in their entrepreneurial ventures. Along these lines, one of the workshops that participate in is how to develop their own businesses that will allow them to take advantage of the management of the land and other natural resources in a sustainable way, in order to generate new income that will ultimately ensure food security for their families.
Based on the above and questioning the importance of female empowerment concerning children, the way I visualize it is how access to more and better opportunities for mothers can change the future opportunities for their children. In this sense, the cycle begins in that if the mother has a job or a business initiative that generates income, the result is an increase in resources for their household, which can be used not only for the education of her children but also for their individual wellbeing, such as having access to food, shelter, and health, in other words, a change in the trajectory of their lives by achieving greater stability and development.
It is worth noting that forms of empowerment can vary according to time and context. I clearly remember during a women's circle how the now mothers and wives expressed, according to their life experiences, that before what was expected was for women to get married to leave their parent's house, and how this often resulted in cases of gender-based violence, divorce, and conflicts with their families because they were considered responsible for what happened in their marriages. While their struggles and the construction of their empowerment was linked to asserting their rights and opinions, today, a woman's fulfillment is also linked to her desire to be educated and develop professionally, which is what they pass on to their daughters. Because women seek to work, educate themselves, and be active in order to push for change and to achieve a just society that offers equal rights and opportunities for all.
Precisely this makes female empowerment a continuous, almost hereditary process that favors the improvement of their children, families, and communities. Thus, in addition to empowering individual capacities, the long-term impact becomes a domino effect that invites investment in the education of more women and children, especially in places where this occurs less frequently, such as in indigenous and rural territories.
Looking to the future, the idea we have in Dìwö as a team of young professionals is to further strengthen the communities we work with and to continue the effort to reach new communities in order to promote the welfare and coexistence of people with the ecosystems that surround them.