Looking for ideas to empower the amazing women you know (and don’t know)? Find ideas for yourself as well as (other) women right here.
What exactly is empowerment?
Empowerment can be defined as “the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights”. It involves giving a person or people agency and choice, to feel in control of their own lives.
So what is women’s empowerment?
Women’s empowerment is a super important movement which encourages women to feel strong and capable of making decisions. Historically, it’s been difficult for women to have their own agency, often being treated like the property of men. Of course, even today, in many countries, women’s education and agency is not supported. But things can and will change, with more and more women speaking up and empowering each other!
Why is women’s empowerment even necessary?
Although things may be moving in the right direction, there are many negative stereotypes which pervade even the most progressive societies. For instance, the insidious stereotype of women best-suited to being homemakers, child rearers, along with the idea that they are generally less ambitious than as or high achieving as men. And in many cases, this is a self-fulfilling prophecy… A woman told all her life that her achievements are limited to the traditional women’s role ensures that she is indeed limited.
Which in turn leads to an obvious problem that affects everyone in society, whatever their gender – because we, as a whole, are not reaching our full potential.
How does it feel to be empowered?
We often speak about “feeling” empowered, and it is certainly important. To feel of value… To have worth… These are very powerful motivators and can have great positive influence on a person’s life. But real effect comes from real action. When a woman has the opportunity to have agency, she is empowered, and with this agency her sense of self and trust in her own decision-making and capabilities increases.
International Women’s Day
This year, on March 8th, is International Women’s Day. It is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day calls for the acceleration of women’s equality. And it’s a great opportunity to learn ways and ideas to empower women!
What ideas are there for women to empower other women?
For women to be empowered, we all need to be on the same side. We need to support and help each other. Let’s be clear, this doesn’t mean you have to like every woman you meet – it’s about respecting and facilitating their right to be and do what they want.
Here are ways to empower other women
#1 Be open and honest about your experiences
One important way to empower other women is to be open and honest about your own experiences. In a world where social media is king (or queen?), filtered and edited versions of reality are the new normal. That’s why we need to remind each other (and ourselves) that real life and real women do not look like they do on Instagram. There is immense pressure to be seen as having the perfect life on social media, but this isn’t something even the most manicured influencer really has. So if you can, be brave and post real unedited photos or raw experiences to show everyone how real women look and live.
#2 Celebrate other women’s successes
Celebrating other women’s successes is another way to promote female empowerment. There are many negative stereotypes that pit women against other women, and media that drags them down. So we need to stand up against them by being vocal about our support of other women.
#3 Say her name in a room full of opportunity
If you’re in a situation where you have the opportunity to promote or hire other, qualified women, whether it be at work or in a social citation, take it! Be a role model for other women and mentor them in how to succeed.
#4 Stand up for her
Another important way to empower each other is to put yourself out there for women. If you see a woman being put down by someone, due to harmful gender stereotypes, stand up for her. It helps to know someone is on your side.
#5 Build a network of powerful women
Networking and connecting is one of the strongest ways women can empower each other. If you seek out and surround yourself with positive, strong women, you can learn from them, and they from you. Together, you will succeed. This can be done easily online, but also in person.
What can men do to empower women?
The most important thing men can do to help empower women is to listen and take their words and experiences as truth. Ask how you can support the women in your life. The answer will be different from woman to woman, but you may learn various methods and advice that will help in future relationships too, whether that’s work or social.
Ways to empower yourself
One of the best ways to empower yourself is to seize every opportunity to learn. Knowledge is power, and so spending a little free time improving your knowledge on any topic can be useful and make you feel more confident. So whether it’s politics, astrophysics or gardening, make the effort to expand your knowledge base and see your skill and confidence grow.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. There can be a lot of pressure on women to appear perfect at all times, not only in appearances, with make-up trends and fashion pushed on them every way they turn, but in all aspects of their lives in order to ‘prove’ themselves. This needs to change. Everyone makes mistakes, it is how we learn and adapt and grow. Trust yourself to make the right decision at the right time, and if it turns out you made the wrong choice, learn from it and move on. Onwards and upwards!
P.S. Did you know less than one in five people working in the hi-tech industry are women? Break into the industry with this empowering guide for women in tech!
Ready to empower (and be empowered!)
Now go out there and use our ideas to empower women and lift yourself and others up!
You might also be interested in reading: