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What Does Empowering Women Really Mean?

In our women’s initiative workshops, with both the books we are reading and in general conversation, there seems to be a common theme. As we talk about focusing on ways to uplift and inspire women the word empowerment is used quite often. But what does it really mean?

Empower (verb): To make (someone) stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights. 

Does this mean we, as women, are waiting around for power to be given to us? The answer is an emphatic no! Now is the time to acknowledge the power we possess within us, use it and most importantly, build upon it. The most important empowerment is the way we empower ourselves.

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Claim your power

To push progress forward, it is important to use and grow the power we as women already have. Consider Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In. This book ignited an energy around the advancement of women in business that our country had not seen in over two decades. This wasn’t done by urging young women to wait for power to be handed to them. Instead, Sandberg inspired a generation of women by opening their eyes, allowing them to recognize the power they already had. She was able to shift women’s mindsets from passive to active by using practical tools for getting ahead. It wasn’t about being passive or polite; it was about women coming together and demanding to be heard.

Use your power

We’ve mentioned it before, but having women in leadership positions is good for everybody. In fact, it is the key to economic growth, political stability, as well as social transformation. Know your strengths and don’t be afraid to embrace them. Be aware of your capabilities, ready to take on your biggest dreams. Take risks and work hard to ensure they pay off. Be determined, confident, and fearless.

Build our power

To keep momentum going, don’t just believe in yourself, believe in all the women around you. When 4GGL (For Girls Local Leadership) launched a global survey on women’s empowerment, “a staggering 46% replied ‘self-awareness,’ a process of ‘knowing who they are,’ as the inspiration for change.” It is our duty to self-actualize the power we hold within ourselves to encourage future generations to do the same. Believe these young women possess the power within themselves to change the world. And they will.

Women have inspired a tremendous amount of change and worked hard to do a lot of "dismantling," in politics, the entertainment industry and corporate America. As the media continues to share revelations of male leaders allegedly using their positions to oppress and abuse women, more women are finding their voices. Join the chorus, embrace your power within and show future generations that women are a force to be reckoned with! We don’t need to wait for power to be given to us, we already possess it.

Ready to empower others? Read our blog about inspiring future female leaders to inspire the potential younger generations have for the future.