What inspires you to feel confident within yourself?
It is a simple question to ask yet one that many women struggle to answer. The difficulty women face in answering this question has a debilitating effect, the impact on society and culture, limiting. Feminism has done much to advance the cause of women’s equality, however, there is still more to do to develop women’s individual and collective sense of self worth and value. It is vital for their own mental health and wellbeing that they resolve these issues. It is essential for the wellbeing of the next generation of girls and boys, as they will inevitably inherit these patterns of low self worth from their mothers and in turn pass them onto their own children.
We live in a time where more women than ever now enter the workforce, leave the shelter of home and come into contact with men. Quite often they come into contact with men who hold positions of power and status over them. Unless women are equipped with a healthy sense of self worth and value they will struggle to manage such encounters as their boundaries are violated and ignored. Furthermore, every day women are bombarded with negative projections of their value and contribution to society beyond traditionally defined gender roles – the unspoken message – that no matter what you achieve you are still not enough, that somehow as a woman you are lacking and it is on the basis of this lack that women are invited, encouraged; to compare more, criticise more, judge more, purchase more. World leaders and thought leaders are seeking to create initiatives that engage women more fully, a bold effort to transform society, enhance economic growth and political stability as they acknowledge the powerful potential to be harnessed from empowered women. This is an inspiring endeavour, however, what will really induce meaningful change is for women to be equally engaged in their own personal growth and development.
For hundreds of years society, culture, religion, men and women have suppressed women as each successive generation passed down their own inherited; limiting beliefs, fears, doubts and insecurities. As such women are more socially equal than ever before but their self esteem and confidence has not harnessed the same degree of progress. Activism as a movement has propelled changing gender roles to the top of the agenda. Transformation from the old to the new requires a deeper commitment to make that change meaningful, self-affirming. A movement is only as strong as the parts that make it up. There is now a need for a collective partnership among all women to unite in supporting themselves and each other. Through my work I have seen and learnt that if women were as cohesive in their support of each other in the way that men were, the role of women in society would look very different to the fractured wounded story we are still attempting to heal today.
So how do we empower women?
According to the World Bank
Empowerment is the process of increasing the capacity of individuals or groups to make choices and to transform those choices into desired actions and outcomes.
Empowerment is a process through which as a woman you become an agent of change. You acquire the can do factor and move from I can’t to I can.
We are all living the repercussions of trans – generational gender suppression. The solution is to reframe the narrative we carry of what it means to us to be a woman, renew the vision and purpose of the value of the feminine. To achieve this it is vital to support the uplift of women in the world by finding and being our authentic selves first.
In my own journey I found that there were numerous initiatives to support female empowerment through leadership initiatives. Not all women are destined or desire to be leaders; nevertheless women can find agency and strength in an enhanced and deeply felt sense of their own worth. This is what it means to Stand Tall; to be in acknowledgment and acceptance of all that you are as you are. From this place we become stronger as individuals with an increased capacity for compassion and understanding of each other this is what creates an egalitarian society.
A useful check in as to your levels of confidence and self worth can be to read through the following list of statements.
You can readily and easily accept yourself as you are.
You can accept your body as it is.
You feel comfortable expressing your own ideas and opinions.
You know that you are wonderful.
You do not feel the need to compare yourself and your accomplishments to anyone else.
You are happy living an undependent (dependent and independent) life.
You feel content and fulfilled in all areas of your life.
You rarely criticise yourself or others.
You are able to set clear boundaries and know that your ‘no’ means no and will be valued and honoured by others.
You value masculine and feminine qualities equally.
You are healthy mentally, emotionally and physically.
You have confidence in your future.
You live your life in purpose.
If you are comfortable with all the statements above then you are most likely living your life as an empowered woman. Congratulations! If you find that any of the statements make you feel uncomfortable or challenged then you have a wonderful opportunity here to join the retreat, address where you are stuck and change it.
“We all have blind spots – those parts of ourselves for improvement and growth. As painful as it can be to admit that we do things we said we never would, say things we never wanted to say, become people we swore we would never become it is this acknowledgement that enables us to take the first step toward change. Be kind to yourself. Be honest with yourself. Take it one step at a time.” – Zita