I am a firm believer of Gandhi’s saying that if you want to change the world, be the change you wish to see. It always starts within ourselves to initiate personal change so that we can rise to bigger challenges outside of ourselves.
The inequity faced by women is firmly entrenched in all facets of society. However, women all over the world have not let this dampen their efforts in advocating for equality and real solutions to issues faced by women in their everyday lives. They have come up with multiple ways of improving their lives and those of their communities, while some have improved the lives of other women around the world. This feat is not only reserved for those with influence, power or even resources.
Every woman can contribute to the empowerment agenda, regardless of how small the contribution may appear to some. Taken as a collective, small initiatives inspire us to do more and they tend to snowball into much bigger developments we could not have foreseen.
The words from a resistance song “you strike a woman, you strike a rock” are a testament to the courage and strength of women and what they have achieved over the years and still continue to do till this day.
Ways of contributing to women’s empowerment
Share powerful stories
It is important for women who are successful and in positions of power or influence to tell their stories of ups and downs; their wins, failures, mistakes and lessons learned. Often
such women seem unreachable – as if they were simply born successful – and are placed on a pedestal, being admired by countless women. We seldom get to hear about when they were still deep in the trenches rising up. These are powerful stories that inspire strength, resilience and hope in others but more importantly, they are practical lessons that can assist those facing similar challenges.
Stand up for yourself and other women
When you come across injustice, call it out and explain why it is an injustice or an unbalanced view, then offer alternatives. This may feel uncomfortable but it is much better than pent-up resentment and anger brewing inside you from all the times you had been too shy or afraid to stand up for yourself. Try it, what’s the worst that can happen?
Be a warrior
Our mental states are very important, and our thought patterns and beliefs must be kept
positive and healthy. Being empowered is about having control of your life such that when
unfortunate incidents happen, you learn from them and turn those situations into something productive and constructive. No wallowing in self-pity and victim mentality here, ladies. You are in control of your perspectives and how you choose to experience things.
Advocate for other women when you have an opportunity to do so; recommend them to
decision-makers, assist them to promote themselves and their talents. Sharing your shine with someone else does not dim your light in any way.
Empowered women support and empower other women. There are always women seeking various forms of support. Be a positive support system for another by mentoring, lending an ear, or offering guidance. Doing good deeds for others is incredibly rewarding.
By empowering yourself you empower other women as well. You may not know who is
looking up to you. Let us re-imagine the world, not as it is, but how it could be an equitable
Also read: Celebrating Women
Silindokuhle is an Industrial/Organisational Psychologist registered with the HPCSA. She holds a Master’s degree from UKZN and runs an independent practice specialising in psychological assessments, training and wellbeing.