What does an empowered woman look like? In my search to find the answer, I came across many web-sites, books, blogs and magazines. All dedicated to empowering women. Why is this such a huge topic?
The dictionary defines power as “the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events”. The example shown was “the idea that men should have power over women”.
And isn’t that it? The idea that men should have power over women. That idea has been around for centuries. And because it was such a prevalent idea for such a long time, women came to believe they don’t have power. Society adopted this idea as truth and although it’s been called into question repeatedly, the actual truth never really took hold. Until now, that is.
In January 2017, there was one day dedicated to the power of women. Women marched in cities around the world to highlight their power. Women came together and marched to show the world they are tired of being treated like second class citizens. The exciting thing is that many men marched with them in solidarity.
An article in the New York Times stated that march was organized as a protest against Donald Trump. While it may have been, I think the bigger picture is that it was a protest against the status quo. More importantly it was a statement by women all over the globe that it’s time for change.
More recently, the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements have highlighted the extent to which women in the world have been sexually harassed and treated as “less than”. As a collective, we are no longer willing to keep our mouths shut and take it. We know we have more value than that. As individuals, there is still work to be done. Many women are ready to stand in their power but not yet sure how to do that.
Women are ready to stand in their power, to speak their truth and to stop allowing others to have power over them. Women have “the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events.” It’s something we all have and exercise on a daily basis. We just don’t always think about it or see it as “power”. It’s just who we are.
So, what does an empowered woman look like? She is confident, open, strong and she is strong enough to be vulnerable. She is not afraid to speak her mind when necessary. She has healthy boundaries in place and she honors them when tested.
She is the working Mom of toddlers who juggles getting herself ready for work, getting the kids and all their paraphernalia ready to drop off at the sitter, gets herself to work on time and arrives with a smile on her face.
She is the Baby Boomer divorcee who is out there living her life, doing what she loves and not worrying about birthdays adding up.
She is the recent college graduate who nails the job interview and commands a salary worth her talents. Knowing she was up against some stiff competition, she actively prepared and exuded confidence as she visualized herself in that position.
She is the woman who just learned her husband of 15 years has been having an affair and is planning to leave her. While hurt, she refuses to dive into victim mode and takes decided action to ensure her needs are met in a fair and equitable settlement.
She is the daughter of elderly parents who need extra attention as their memories and health fade. Her strength and stamina are tested and she manages to find the extra hours in the day to care for the parents who once cared for her.
What does an empowered woman look like? Take a look in the mirror. In all likelihood, you’ll see an empowered woman looking back at you. You have your ups and downs because we all do. And you know that on your good days you can conquer the world. And on your bad days, you do a pretty good job of making it through. When those bad days come along, give yourself a break. Don’t be too hard on yourself because you are pretty darned awesome just the way you are.