So you are blessed with being a woman, lady, girl, gal, chick, princess etc. Why is it important to be empowered?
When you become a mother, you become the teacher for how your beautiful children interact in the world. Studies show that empowered women are less likely to be depressed and more likely to be economically stable and self reliant.
On a global scale, the more empowered women there are per capita is a reflection on their country’s economic status. Mindblown.
What does it mean to be an empowered woman?
Simply put, confidence! Not only confidence within yourself, but confidence in your daily life as you undertake your everyday routines and tasks.
A day in the life of an empowered woman is vastly different from someone who struggles with their self confidence.
Countless movies have been based on this idea, ranging from coming of age tales to comedies and even thrillers.
Sounds great! But how do we empower women?
1. Start at the beginning
The mindset of boys and girls is developed very young. Teach them from the beginning that a woman’s worth is equal to that of men, and that everyone has the same value, no matter their colour, size, height or religion.
It’s important for them to understand and clearly see that you as a mother stand up for your rights and beliefs every day.
2. Boys become men
When boys are spoilt and entitled during their adolescence, this can stick with them as they mature, resulting in misogynistic men.
Teach them from a young age that girls warrant the same respect as boys and let them know that it’s okay to play with dolls and for girls to play with Lego. Boys can do gymnastics and girls can play football.
3. Lead by example
Equality and empowerment for women and minorities starts at home. Treat the cleaner with the same respect you would for a CEO. Don’t push in line when getting your coffee.
Open the door for the disheveled as well as the prim. Give smiles to all, no matter their situation. Treat others how you wish to be treated and the world will be a better place.
4. Support appropriate charities
There are many countries and circumstances where the voice of women is stifled. Donate to charities that give them the support they need through education, equality, water, maternal health care and other resources.
Try raising awareness with a fundraiser such as ‘Walk in Her Shoes’, or donating directly to a charity, like the ones below.
CARE Australia – a leading international aid organisation that works around the globe to save lives and defeat poverty.
Amnesty International – a global movement of more than 7 million people who take injustice personally; campaigning for a world where human rights are enjoyed by all.
Plan International – works in more than 75 countries towards a just world that advances children’s rights and equality for girls.
Uplift Project – collects new and second hand bras and sends them wherever they have requests. For women in disadvantaged communities a bra is often unobtainable or unaffordable.
UN Women – the United Nations entity responsible for promoting women’s empowerment and gender equality and was established to accelerate progress to meet the needs of women and girls worldwide.
5. Watch your words
Keep your negative comments to yourself, whether they’re directed at yourself or others. It takes 10 positive comments to undo 1 negative comment. Think before you speak.
T – is it True?
H – is it Helpful?
I – is it Inspiring?
N – is it Necessary?
K – is it Kind?
Knowledge is power, or so they say, and empowered women are usually better educated. This can be as simple as reading a book, an article, a blog or watching a documentary.
You could mentor someone yourself or be mentored. Join a night class or develop a hobby, just keep on learning.
Do you have a certain skill you can pass on? It could be as simple as giving advice to someone who you think needs it or as in-depth as becoming a professional mentor through a community service.
7. Support the right businesses
When you follow the food chain all the way to the top, it’s often those that are extremely disarming and power hungry sitting there.
Support businesses that care for their consumers and the environment. Bonus points for supporting a business that is run by a caring, thoughtful woman.
If you see someone doing something great, give them some encouragement. Hey, why not give them encouragement anyhow. They might not have the nerve to try something without a little push.
Imagine yourself in the shoes of someone who is totally empowered, and then place yourself in the shoes of someone who’s voice is stifled.
These are two extremes and unfortunately women are often at the negative end of the scale.
Rather than passing judgement on others, empathise with their situation.
If you see a toddler throwing a tantrum in the shopping centre, give their mother a smile. We’ve all been there.
This is easier said than done, but take steps every day to improve your confidence.
If you have an opinion, voice it.
If you believe in something, defend it.
It can be extremely difficult at first, but the more you believe in and speak up for yourself, the easier it will become.
11. Don’t be competitive at the expense of others
Lift others up with you. Life is better when you’re having fun and can share the love.
This is especially true when raising tiny humans, as they see and mimic your behaviour.
Help others to in turn help yourself. “Be the woman who fixes another woman’s crown, without telling the world it was crooked”, so to speak.
12. “Express Yourself” (Yes, Madonna)!
Tell the people in your life how much they mean to you. You might think they know it, but it’s always nice to hear.
Honesty is the best policy, so if you have an issue with someone, voice it (in a non-condescending way of course). This is especially pertinent with your children and will help them understand how they deserve to be treated.
If social media is getting you down – turn it off or unfollow the accounts that are making you feel bad about yourself.
Also remember that your comments are read and received by others, so if you think it will hurt someone else’s feelings, leave it alone.
14. Use your voice and listen to others
There’s an infinite amount of knowledge in the world, and you can’t be an expert on everything.
Voice your opinion but let others speak also.
If you can tell someone has something to say but they’re holding back, ask them!
If they’re introverted or feeling repressed, they may just need a little nudge. This will do wonders for their confidence and kick off their empowerment journey.
15. Nothing is off limits
Discuss the changes that the female body goes through in life with your children.
The more aware they are, the less they’ll feel shame or pass judgement.
Talk openly about your body during pregnancy and breastfeeding and the amazing changes it goes through to grow and nourish a baby.
16. No without why
Life is too short to spend time doing something you don’t want to do. Know that you can say no, and never apologise for not giving a reason. Lead by example and share this mantra with others.
17. Choose your friends
If you have friends or partners that belittle women, call them out and remove them from your life.
When meeting new people, think “do they value my voice and opinion?” and if the answer is no, you don’t need them in your life.
If you’re out and about and see someone treating another person poorly, pull them up on their behaviour. If you condone it, they will think it’s acceptable and continue doing it.
The more empowered you are as a woman, the more women around you will strive to be the same.
Lead by example and encourage others.
Your children are the voice of the next generation, and will determine the future of female empowerment. Let’s spread the love this International Women’s Day (8th March).