According to the World Bank, women represent 49.56% of the world’s population, and yet despite this significant statistics women continue to be subordinate to men. In some parts of the world this inequality manifests in discrepancies in salary; in others, it is witnessed in access to healthcare or other basic resources outside the home. The momentum for change is slowly building, though, and it can be further bolstered by taking steps to empower women around the globe. This article offers some essential ways to empower women in an effort to build a greater sense of connectivity between the worldwide female population and a stronger global economy overall. Essential #1: Encourage EducationOne of the most effective ways to empower women is to extend educational opportunities to them, because education not only informs but empowers itself. A basic means of such education is to promote literacy efforts. The World Bank reports that more than 17% of the international female population is illiterate. This percentage calculates to more than 1.3 billion women who struggle with reading or cannot read at all, which presents a monumental barrier to communication and to involvement in the community and participation in business. Beyond the basics of literacy, education in the realm of job skills can also take women great strides to advance. Teaching women around the world how to perform business-oriented tasks or talents can boost the likelihood they will go on to form their own business, which in turn can benefit the overall economy. Essential #2: Increase IndependenceAnother essential in the pursuit of female empowerment is the cultivation of a sense of independence. Again, this independence can be scaled to different regions. In some regions of Nepal, for example, women are not allowed to leave their homes without permission, so programs that encourage women to just physically leave the house can be crucial. Independence can also be encouraged by fostering within women the importance of strong financial decisions. Education on opening individual savings account as well as options for micro-grants or loans that might be available can help conjure a sense of financial independence that can embolden women to make more significant decisions in both the personal and professional realms. Essential #3: Help Promote HealthA final key component to women’s empowerment is the promotion of adequate and accessible health care. Women deserve equal participation in general health care initiatives as well as education on preventative measures for various diseases and conditions. Women can also gain inspiration from initiatives that inspire psychological wellbeing. Women who can participate in community social or professional networks can both feel more connected and also more capable, thereby further promoting a sense of independence and control. Why Empowerment is ImportantWomen’s empowerment can boost women’s independence and self-esteem, make them more active contributors to society, and build sense of female community where currently there might be little to none. Beyond these individual benefits, though, studies show that empowerment of women can also be a boon to their families and their larger communities. Studies by the United Nations revealed, for example, that increased female participation in local business has been shown to boost the area’s overall economy. Greater education of women has also been shown, among other benefits to children, to decrease infant mortality rates in some regions. What these figures reveal is that the empowerment of women can help everyone, and, given the already promising economic impacts of women becoming active in the global economy, that empowerment hopefully will continue to grow to everyone’s benefit. Sources: “10 way to empower women.” READ Global – Inspiring Rural Prosperity © 2016. “Facts and Figures: Economic Empowerment.” United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. “Population, female (% of total).” The World Bank © 2017. “Literacy rate, adult female (% of total).” The World Bank © 2017. “Women’s Empowerment Principles.” United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.