The term ’empowered woman’ has its roots in a feminist movement that is no longer really relevant in today’s society. In fact, the term ‘feminist’ rarely comes up in conversations any more. ‘Feminist’ conjures up images of suffragettes, 1940s to 1960s activists and protesters, often wearing men’s trousers and shirts, while fighting for the political and social reform on behalf of oppressed women. Their courageous fight for social justice and equality paved the way for future generations of women. And they will always be remembered and honoured.
The Empowerment of Women in Legislation and Policy-Making
The expression ‘Empowerment of Women’ is the nomenclature used today to cover gender equality reform, or ‘the stage when both men and women realize their full potential’ (Women’s Empowerment: Measuring the Global Gender Gap 2005). During the last thirty years there has been a growing public recognition that empowering women would increase social, economic and political equality. However, progress has been slow as empowering women tackles the very heart of our patriarchal society.
And the statistics remain depressing. According to The Economist, in the Western World, ‘only 2% of the bosses of Fortune 500 companies and five of those in the FTSE 100 stock market index are women ‘and ‘Women make up less than 13% of board members in America’. And a 2010 Womenomics survey showed that ‘In the top 101 US companies’ women comprise just 15% of executive committee members and only 7%26 in European top 101 companies. In Asia the figure is only 3%’ More than 50% of the companies in the S&P 100 have no female representation in their highest paid executive positions. And even worse,, Apple, Intel, Exxon and Citigroup are among the major American companies that have no women on their Executive Committee.
The More Compelling Component to the Term ‘Empowerment of Women’
For hundreds of thousands of us, it is the aphorism for women who are discovering and re-igniting their intuitive and inherent suppressed female values; those values that epitomise the inner strength we have to survive anything (tragedy, adversity, heartbreak, loss and misfortune). And the potency to cherish, to cultivate, to nurture, to love.
In our teens and twenties we merely dream about the women we aspire to become, but during our 30’s, 40’s, and 50s’ a pivotal event transpires that triggers our inner female values: it could be anything from a ‘feeling’ we have that there has to be more to life and to us; or a realisation that nothing is working anymore or it could be a very significant life changing nuclear episode; or a series of moments that add up to an epiphany.
When we acknowledge and we accept that by igniting our female values we are capable of overcoming anything that life throws at us, we spontaneously begin the transition to becoming an Empowered Woman.
A transition that’s about having the courage to speak up, to make a difference, to explore beyond the boundaries we set ourselves and those set down by society. It’s about self-love, self-esteem and self-respect; it’s about putting ourselves on top of our list in order to be emotionally, intellectually, and physically available to others.
It’s about rising above glass ceilings, not breaking through them. It’s about letting go of our self-imposed restrictions and limitations that keep us mentally chained to the kitchen sink. It’s about femininity, inner beauty and personal power. It’s about being a woman.
A key element of successfully becoming an empowered woman is connecting with other women who are on the same path. The internet has enabled and facilitated the connections and it is the catalyst that has fuelled the widespread ’empowerment of women’ movement. Through Social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter and the on line groups, we can instantly connect, share knowledge and wisdom, teach and learn, support and guide. Through the webinars and webcasts, we have the power to connect with thousands of women from all over the world at the same time.