Empowerment for Women
“There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” ~Anais Nin
In a previous era, women had neither the right to vote, nor the right to complain. Most women from before 200 years ago were treated like servants or objects. The wealthy classes in western civilizations held their women in higher esteem but they still had significantly less voice than their male counterparts. Even those who were loved, cherished and respected by their husbands were still second class citizens in the broader community, with neither voting power nor political influence. Their goals had to be pursued through subtleties and relationship influence. There was no #empowerment for women.
In eastern civilisations and cultures, even today women still have limited rights, even where they have voting powers. Many cultures and religions do not allow their women to have an education. They insist on them being totally covered while in public. They are strictly forbidden communication with other men and their movements within their communities is also restricted. There is a huge rallying cry in the Middle East right now about whether or not women should legally be allowed the right to drive motor cars!
Empowerment for women throughout history.
If we look back thousands of years, Mother Earth was The Goddess and many societies were matriarchal. Rather than the patriarchal societies which most of the world has now, women were at the head, especially in religious and community leadership. The men were the hunters and muscle, while the women were the nurturers and spiritual and community leaders. Some words in common use now attest to this, words such as Amazon – referring to a tribe of female warriors, Gaia, a Mother Earth deity worshipped by many, and the Gods of mythology, Athena, Aphrodite and more. Women had great influence in Egyptian societies from time to time, ruling equally with their Pharaohs and even without them. The Iroquois Confederacy or League created an American Indian ‘constitution’ called The Great Binding Law of Peace dating from about 1000 AD but unwritten until the late 1800s. This enshrined women in governing roles of the society and is a powerful document to read and assimilate. Ken Carey wrote about it in some chapters of “Return of the Bird Tribes”.
However, in Christian societies, the patriarchal model was adopted from the dark and middle ages and we now see the Pope as the head of the Catholic Church. Women are not even allowed to be priests, despite their once traditional roles as Priestesses! The great exception from this rule was established by the various Queens of England and consolidated by the current Queen Elizabeth, with a continual reign of over 60 years.
Empowerment for women in the modern era.
Back on the home front, in our modern day-to-day communities, women still face a “glass ceiling” in the workplace, lower wages for the same employment roles and a smaller proportion of women in management. They are publicly lauded as having equality in everything and various anti-discrimination bodies are set up around the world and even within the organisation of the United Nations. However, should a woman ‘make it to the top’, it is headline news because of the rarity of the event. Many men still feel threatened by having to work for a woman boss!
In the mad rush for equality and empowerment for women through the 1960s and beyond where ‘burning the bra’ became the standard for the liberationists. Unfortunately, women created a rod for their own backs in many ways. Rather than celebrating their differences, many tried to ignore them and claim total equality where in truth, women and men have differences in areas of strength and weakness. Had the push for equality of status been along these lines, perhaps the male segment of the population may not have felt so threatened and either openly or covertly tried to crush the movement. As it is, covert discrimination still exists. It will exist for another couple of generations, regardless of the progress of any anti-discrimination laws.
In the home, we see a huge proportion of single parent families, many women who are divorced single parents, raising their children alone. In many cases it is because they became personally empowered and escaped a toxic relationship. Others are because of desertion by their husbands. Fewer men are single parents and then it is often because of the loss of the mother through some tragedy, as in divorce court outcomes, more often than not custody has been given to the mother.
This suggests a societal situation that women are less empowered in general than men. Certainly women have less outright power. However, there is another way of looking at it.
If we consider a relationship where domestic violence is occurring, in most cases it is the woman who is the victim. The male is the aggressor. However, bullying behaviour, and that is what it is, mostly occurs because of a lack of empowerment of the bully. If this bully was a self confident person, with high self esteem and a feeling of security within themselves and about their lives in general, there would be no inclination to be a bully, or to try to overpower or exert their will by force on another person, spouse, partner or otherwise. Therefore, who is the person with a lack of empowerment?
Will empowerment for women change the issues of the glass ceiling and domestic violence?
On a very personal level, empowerment for women will provide women with a greater sense of self esteem and confidence in daily living. That is vital. It will provide the strength women need to break down the barriers of societies everywhere, in all cultures, religions and countries, at every level of communities, to really enjoy the benefits of equality of relationships and genuinely shared, happy lives.
Empowerment for women will still threaten some men. That is an issue that will not go away any time soon. While ever patriarchal models are cemented in place, there will be opponents to the progress of women directly in community, national, corporate and global leadership.
How can personal empowerment for women be gained?
What can an ordinary woman, with little interest in politics or other leadership roles outside her family, what can she do to gain this empowerment for women? It’s always the little things that matter. Just as a house is made from thousands of bricks, so is empowerment, self confidence and self esteem. It’s the little success habits that build the character of a person, male or female, to give them empowerment in all circumstances.
Empowerment for women does not mean they are to become all powerful and domineering. Rather, it means that as an empowered person, they have the core strength of character to refuse to accept disempowering behaviour and attitudes from others! A critical distinction.
Can empowerment for women be misunderstood?
If you find you have to force, cajole, bully or manipulate people to get things done, you do not have empowerment; you are a bully or manipulator. If people flock to your leadership and are eager to assist you, then you have empowerment. That should be your goal.
At times, some women will take it too far. As a guy who was raised by a father who was chivalrous and respected and doted on his wife/my mother, I have at times opened doors for women without asking because it was the chivalrous thing to do. I have been told rather rudely, to perform certain almost gymnastic feats on myself for my efforts. I paid a compliment to a lady once on the incredible colours of her dress and the rebuke was “What the hell do YOU want?” Those women were not empowered – rather, they were suffering the same insecurities that a bully character has and that is precisely what they need to evolve beyond.
Confidence is built on repeated experiences of success. A program that delivers repeated experiences of success, through daily pats on the back, affirmations of your self worth, consolidation and recognition of your achievements and teaches goalsetting as a way of life, is a vital and necessary component of any intention to gain empowerment for women and men. Finding your lesson from each day, acknowledging your successes of each day, gaining awareness of and control over your moods and emotions each day, breaking through the 0ld conditioning and patterns, learning to receive love as well as give it, these are critical to personal empowerment and are all built into the Life Change 90 program, designed especially for personal empowerment.
How will you know when you have ‘got’ empowerment for women?
I was once told by a woman that the absolute worst thing that can happen is to arrive at a function and find that another woman is wearing the same dress! An empowered woman will not be concerned. In fact, she will have the confidence and self assuredness to make everyone think the other lady was trying to copy her, but doing a terrible job! That is empowerment! That level of self confidence, that ability to walk into a room and know you created waves and not be concerned about it, that is empowerment for women. It is way beyond how you look, what you wear or weigh. Empowerment transcends.
However, we are not trying to empower just one woman to be a figurehead. Empowerment for women is a global phenomenon that most people wish for. Referring back to the Empowerment Tone Scale in a previous post, you can see that the personal empowerment of EACH woman is a small step toward empowerment for ALL women and only in this way can empowerment for women be gained.
If you feel this post has contributed to empowerment for women, please share and reblog amongst your friends and associates. So many people are crying out for empowerment, yet don’t understand that it is within easy reach. Perhaps your sharing will change the life of another – everyone deserves personal empowerment and this could be the day you make a difference!
Til next time, fair winds and full sails,
“I do not wish [women] to have power over men; but over themselves.” ~Mary Wollstonecraft
Please also refer to my other posts on Empowerment: