The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines the word “empower” as giving official authority or legal power, enabling, and/or promoting the self-authorisation or influence. As women, when we encounter the term “Empowerment of Women,” we find that while it has many associations, it most often appears in a positive and constructive context.
Christine Lagarde, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director, gave a speech in November: The Business Case for Women’s Empowerment, which is one great example of this. She begins with a quote from Isabelle Allende, the famous Chilean novelist, who said: “If a woman is empowered, her children and her family will be better off. If families prosper, the village prospers, and eventually so does the whole country.”
Others, however, such as editor Jia Tolentino, think of it differently. In her opinion, which she expressed in her New York Times article, the term is mainly used these days, as a tool for commercial and profit purposes.
You can easily guess which one I side with.
I have come to consider myself to be an able and self-confident woman with some degree of influence on the people who are close to me, and therefore, an empowered one by the definition above. Throughout my life, I have taken action in important matters - from the initiation of my first date with my now husband of 30 years, to my decision 18 months ago, to have a bilateral mastectomy with no reconstruction, which then led to the creation of FLAT OUT TALI. So, it might sound like I have it all sorted out in this department. But, do I always feel empowered? Is it an integral part of who I am, and therefore, available to me whenever I need it? No. Not at all!
At times, I experience its absence when faced with what you might call “the small stuff” as much as when encountering the “BIG” stuff. For instance, a few days ago, my sister and her husband who live overseas and had been visiting with us, left to continue their travels through our beautiful New Zealand. Following their departure, I felt overwhelmed with emotion and all I wanted to do was be a “couch potato”, sit in my living room, watch silly movies, and eat my favourite, unhealthy comforting food – chocolate. And plenty of it!
In my head, though, a nagging thought was running to remind me of my commitment to get out a new blog post before the 10th of January - and I hadn’t even started to write it. In spite of being aware that I had the “self-authorisation” to decide what to do . . . and the circumstantial justification, I was feeling guilty and giving myself hard time! So, what do you think happened next?
I gave in to my feelings J, sat on my couch, watched feel-good movies that I’d recorded earlier, ate lots of chocolates, and then decided to write this blog with a delay and with the hope that this little story of mine, will help to “empower” you - even in a small way - to love, accept, and most importantly respect yourself and your feelings, because this is where the empowerment of women really begins - in our minds and in our hearts!
Til next time,