The 8th of March just went by and if you are a woman, you would have undoubtedly received ‘Happy Women’s Day’ messages via social media. Much of the content typically centered around how spectacular women are in everything they do, and at every stage of their lives. As some of my friends put it – women must be celebrated every day and not just once a year.
But it’s worth remembering that the yearly event started more than a hundred years ago to highlight the need for social, economic, and political equality for women.
The term ‘gender parity’ has been thrown around a lot in the last few decades, with good progress being made on many fronts. Yet the most powerful country in the world has still not had a female president and women continue to be paid much lesser than their male counterparts. In fact, it’s estimated that gender parity will take another century at least. So that’s something that you and I are not going to see in our lifetime.
A term that is used a lot on Women’s Day is women empowerment. What does empowerment mean to you today as a woman living in the age of technology marked by social media, influencers, internet dating, and WFH (work from home) culture? Of course, all women have different perspectives of what they consider empowerment; it’s rather subjective to the financial and social status and the personal stages of our lives.
Yet, if I were to ask you right now, what makes you feel empowered as a modern woman, what would be the 10 things you can think of?
SO, STOP READING THIS BLOG NOW. Make that list of 10 things in your life that make you feel an empowered woman.
DONE? Do share your list in the comments below.
Okay, here’s a list of things that make me, and the young women who work with me, feel empowered every day.
- Being a small business owner.
- The right to say no to anyone or anything.
- The freedom to set my own work hours and choose whom I take on as clients.
- The ability to make a living but at the same time find time for my family and friends.
- The ability to finance my wedding, pay for my family holidays, and invest in property together with my partner.
- Strategizing about growing my business.
- Using my creativity to deliver work that makes clients happy.
- The right to choose my life partner.
- The freedom to complement another man in the presence of my husband.
- The freedom to express my thoughts with friends and family.
- To have my opinion be valued by other members in the family.
- The ability to hold a conversation in any room.
- The freedom to study and pursue a career of my choice.
- To have the choice to be a professional or a homemaker.
- To accomplish my life goals by being perseverant.
- Being free to date whom I want, or how many people I want to date.
- Being able to wear what I want.
- The freedom to vacation with friends after marriage.
While these statements can seem fickle when many women are still struggling for basic rights such as the right to study, work, and access healthcare, these examples indicate that what women want most is non-interference in their decision-making.
As we crawl towards gender equality, we must make every effort to eliminate the deep-rooted misogyny that is cultivated in our patriarchal societies. And it’s not just the men holding us back, often its women pulling down other women. Women are equally guilty of passing judgment on a woman who makes unconventional choices, speaks her mind, or dresses differently. Therefore, to empower women to be themselves, it’s important that we let them be.
For instance, don’t deride a woman when –
- She decides to not have kids or get married.
- She is waiting for the right one to get married.
- She does not want to take her husband’s name after marriage.
- She wants to dress/ speak a certain way.
- She makes unconventional career choices.
- She talks proudly about her achievements.
- She decides to quit a career to be a full-time mom.
- She seeks to create a work-life balance.
- She has an opinion that you don’t like.
- She has the confidence to light up a room (which is often labelled as arrogance).
- She loves machines more than baking.
- She has more male friends than female ones.
- She wants to look sexy till she kicks the bucket.
- She prioritizes her work.
- She asks for equal rights as her brother.
- She wants to run with the boys.
As a woman, you don’t have to do something extraordinary to feel empowered – give yourself the credit you deserve and that will do. For the women who are housewives, know that homemaking is not a “less than” designation, regardless of what anyone tells you. Don’t let self-deprecating thoughts hold you back – acknowledge your beauty and your power with equal aplomb.