At Vision Africa, we value partnerships and embrace the saying “It takes a village to raise a child”. In recognition of this, we asked one of our partners to share their thoughts on empowerment and equality. Here is what Eleanor Harrison OBE of GlobalGiving UK had to say….
Do you think there should be equality for women?
Absolutely. I think there should be equality for everyone.
We are all souls on this beautiful, complicated planet. Equality means better a deal for individuals, communities and wider society. Equality in access to education, health, employment and civil and political life for women means more prosperous, safer and happier societies.
What examples of gender inequality have you experienced and how have you overcome them?
I have been very fortunate to have not been so exposed to gender inequality. My parents were passionate about treating all their children fairly and enabling us all to achieve our potential.
I had problems in one job where when my boss was annoyed he would tell me he was younger than his daughter so he didn’t have to listen to me – which wasn’t great – but I didn’t absorb this comment – it wasn’t correct and so I didn’t let it affect me. Clearly he was having a bad day!
In another job I have earnt less than the man I replaced. He asked for more so he got more. I work in the charity sector and I could also have asked for more. But, I felt I had enough and preferred to have more equity in salaries across the team. It could be perceived as gender inequality but equity across my team was a higher goal.
What do you think makes women empowered?
A tricky question! I believe we are all innately powerful – but not everyone has had the opportunity to fully realise and unlock this power.
When women are able to access their innate power and agency – then – they can be powerful. Access to quality education is an essential part of this.
Why is empowerment important to women?
To truly achieve your full potential and thrive. To live a happy, safe, productive and enriched life.
What role do you see GlobalGiving having in promoting gender equality?
I try to promote gender quality at GlobalGiving – pay equity, role equity. Equal benefits, opportunities and a warm, safe, nurturing environment in which people can thrive. A flexible working environment to support parents with young children, remote working for those who need it. Transparency in how we work and how to progress.
What messages would you share with both young men and women to encourage gender equality?
We are all uniquely talented and able. Celebrate those talents, learn new skills. Be curious, open and always non-judgmental. Your gender does not define you – your values and care for others defines you.
Choose to live a powerful, positive life. A fair life, an honest life and one full of laughter that does not harm another through out of date assumptions about male and female roles.
Be free. Enjoy.