Women empowerment and International Women’s Day. Where is the link?
For more than a century, we celebrated the International Women’s Day as a “freedom” moment like if we should say to the world “Ehy we are good as well”. It has been absolutely a great achievement in terms of conquest of women’s rights but times evolved and today I feel it a bit anachronistic.
What does it mean “women empowerment”?
Women’s empowerment is the process of empowering women.
It can be defined as the capacity to promote women’s sense of self-worth, their ability to determine their own choices, and their right to influence social change for themselves and others.
In Western countries, women empowerment is widely known for three specific moments:
- 20’s: The battle for suffrage
- 60’: Sexual revolution and the role of women in society
- 90’: Feminism
Over the years, and especially among the Gen Z, the concept of women empowerment evolved continuing to break new ground.
What do we expect today when talking about women empowerment?
The debate around this topic to me is something that has to take us back to the word “courage”.
Why courage? Because to initiate any little change in our life we have to “move on”, and to “move on” we need courage. The courage to admit that we can be fragile, the courage to say that we do not want to stay anymore in a certain comfort zone, or simply the courage to say no.
Being a woman in the past 15 years has meant conducting every day a battle to demonstrate that we are educated, emotionally strong and intelligent as our men colleagues are. This is insane because, by definition, two men are emotionally different even if they are of the same sex.
So what are we talking about? A ridiculous system that still relay on old mental paradigm without any sense.
It has even become necessary to include the quotas for women in order to promote gender equality in the boards of direction and in the institutions. Even in the 2030 agenda for sustainable development the fifth objective concerns gender equality.
Wonderful! But my reflection, however, concerns another topic.
Women and forward-thinking company
There are important multinational corporations that recently embraced this evolved concept of women empowerment.
Many of them are in the fashion industry but the one who is really making the difference is Tiffany & Co.
Tiffany, celebrates and highlights diversity, communities, women as a source of inspiration and creativity.
On the occasion of International’s Women Day, Tiffany & Co is promoting on its website the women within the company who are making the brand great.
Multi-cultural and open to diversity, the brand stands for differentiation as a force for good giving voice to those women that makes the brand loved by everyone.
Who are the women we should look at?
My inspiration on female empowerment can be summed up by Sofia Loren.
Coming from one of the most perceived disadvantaged times especially for a woman – post WWII, single mother who could barely support her and her sister, father left and never cared about knowing her or her sister – never provided one lira. Never told her she was amazing or any support, she found her inner strength and single-mindedly, fearlessly celebrated simply being her.
And she left a legacy that no one can dispute. She is famous for saying she never was taken advantaged by any man in Hollywood – because she said all she had to do is give the man one look and he knew he would be in trouble. She found her worth, her self-esteem, her dignity and never wavered from it. Never put herself in compromising situations in order to ‘get ahead’.
To me, this is true courage. True empowerment. The ability to find your inner voice, your inner strength, who you are as an individual no matter what is on the outside (looks, skin, disability, etc) or what circumstances you face — and simply be true to it, no matter what. To walk away from anything (including fame, money, advantage) that compromises you or your inner worth.
In business, I find being a woman is a strength instead of a liability – because if someone chooses to underestimate me, I already come from a place of advantage and I always find the biggest satisfaction in proving them wrong; quietly and with my actions and results. Never my words. That is the best form of empowerment to me; to find my inner strength, never waver and stay true to myself.
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”.ELEANOR ROOSVELT
By simply finding ourselves, staying true to it and celebrating and nurturing who we are as individuals, I believe this will truly help make the world a better place.
So to reply to my question at the beginning of the article, where is the link between women empowerment and International Women’s Day?
I think that we are not “species” to be celebrated but potential to be elevated in our every day life.