What did social enterprises do to expand women’s control their own lives, both within and outside the home?
Participation in social enterprise decision making
Social enterprises provide women beneficiaries with opportunities to participate in and contribute to organisational decision-making process. As one of the women beneficiaries explained, it was very empowering for her to experience this:
“I came in, it was interesting because I thought, well I am just volunteering for a few hours a week. I expected to just be in the corner doing something around that, but they value my opinion, which I didn’t even think they’d listen to my opinion, let alone value it.” (Social Enterprise 1, Women Beneficiary 1).
Making a pledge
Social enterprises invited the women to make a pledge to take responsibility for their lives and take ownership of their actions. Making a pledge creates an incentive for the women to create a plan and takethe first step towards the goals they set for themselves, such as getting a job, finding a better position or meeting more people breaking the cycle of loneliness.
“It’s empowering them and it’s bringing them to action for themselves. To feel good about themselves” (Social Enterprise 1).
Opportunities to work in ‘male occupations’
One social enterprise reported,
“The main challenge was educating the industry [construction] about the need to look to different places for recruitment and open up their workforce to be more diverse and inclusive” (Social Enterprise 5).
In order to address this, they do advocacy work, organise learning workshops and programmes around equality, equity, diversity and inclusion to educate ‘male dominated industries’ to be more open to recruiting women and to address their own biases and prejudices.
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