How To Empower Women Each and Every Day
(Photo from Unsplash)
Today is Women’s Equality Day, which is so wonderful, but in reality, we shouldn’t just be practicing and celebrating equality for women one day out of the year. This should be a daily, hourly, minute...ly practice.
Sometimes Women’s Equality Day gets questioned, much like feminism does, by people who don’t understand why there isn’t a Men’s Equality Day. Before we get started on how to empower each other every day, it’s important to understand why Women’s Equality Day exists in the first place.
Equality is about providing equal rights to everyone, regardless of gender. That’s what Feminism is as well. The reason why the feminist movement focuses on empowering women specifically is because historically (and still today) women were/are seen as less than men. Due to this historically ingrained practice, women are not given equal opportunities or even rights as their male counterparts. And this doesn’t even begin to touch on individuals who identify as something other than male or female. Their opportunities are even less.
In order to create true equality in this world, women need to be lifted up to be on the same playing field as men. It’s not about bringing men down and to have women rise above them. It’s about making sure that everyone’s rights are the same as everyone else’s. Women need to be empowered so they can have the same inherent rights as men.
Now that that’s out of the way, here are some things that you can do each and every day to lift up those around you:
Support Women-Owned Businesses
According to CNN, just 5% of all Fortune 500 companies are run by women in 2018. That’s 26 women. And instead of this number growing, it’s actually dropped in the past year.
In order to support women leaders, we need to make a conscious effort to support women-owned business both big and small. By supporting women-owned businesses, we’re helping to create economic stability in our community as well as giving girls and other children the chance to be able to see themselves as leaders. We’re also creating a whole new world of opportunity where there wasn’t and isn’t much opportunity.
So, what can you do? Before clicking that “checkout” button on your computer next time, check to see if that business you’re buying from is owned by a woman. If so, buy away, you’re making a difference. If not, try to find another company where you can purchase something similar that is run by women.
Just by being here, you’re making a change. Nannocare is a company founded by women for women.
Use Your Voice
Although some people like to argue this fact, there are still large human rights violations throughout the world today based on gender discrimination.
According to UN Women, 35% of women experience sexual violence in their lifetime. More than 1 out of 10 women have been raped; and according to RAINN, 2 out of three rapes go unreported.
These women’s voices have been silenced due to violence, societal pressures, and uncalled-for shame (aka victim blaming).
It’s important that we use our voices to speak out against these atrocities and help people around the world who are unable to speak for themselves. Using your voice can be done in a variety of ways. It may be through spreading awareness, raising money to reputable and reliable organizations making real change happen, or it may involve you reaching out to elected officials.
Be Aware of Your Privilege
If you’re a woman and you’re reading this, you know what it’s like to be discriminated against based on your gender. However, it’s important not to forget those who are discriminated against based on their race or sexuality. As we are making our way and fighting for equality, we need to recognize our own privileges we have.
It’s not that you’re a bad person because you have privilege and it doesn’t mean that you don’t go through hard times, but you need to be aware of where you inherently have more rights based on things you have no control over.
For example, although women are paid 80 cents to every man’s dollar in the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, a black woman in the United States only makes 66 cents for every white man’s dollar.
This is important information not to forget if we truly wish to be an inclusive movement to end with a truly equal country and world.
The first step is being aware of your privilege and the second step is using it. If you have a certain privilege that others don’t have, you need to truly listen to others who are experiencing the discrimination that you are not. Once you fully listen and understand, you may have the privilege to speak out and you need to use it. You can’t just assume that someone else is going to.
Don’t Forget To Love Yourself
Sometimes when we focus so much on helping others, we can forget about the most radical action of them all: loving yourself. Always remember to respect your mind and body and don’t forget to listen to your needs.
A large aspect of this is being comfortable with your body. Know and love your vagina, no matter how embarrassed you may be of talking about it. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about.
Find out ways that you can give back to yourself every day. This may be through doing something you love, or taking the time to breathe, or even just allowing yourself to do nothing. It really depends on you, but don’t forget about taking care of yourself before taking on the rest of the world.
It’s time we start talking about our bodies, our feelings, our hopes and dreams and taking action to supporting one another. Society has taught us that we all need to compete with each other (men and women alike) but that’s simply not true. We are not each other’s competition. And as women (and other discriminated groups) work their way to raising awareness and fighting inequality, we can’t forget about lifting up the people beside us.
Women’s Equality isn’t about a day, it isn’t about single movement, it is something that we need to fight for and work towards every moment in order to assure that the future is shining with equality.