Here at FINDRA, we feel pretty empowered, but there have lady lumps along the way. We asked our friend Heather Graham of the ‘How Dare She?‘ project what empowerment really means, and what it’s going to achieve.
Are the words ‘female’ and ‘power’, contradictory? Firstly, ‘power’ is considered by many women to be a masculine description and therefore only attributable to the male gender, secondly many women they say they don’t want to be seen as ‘powerful’, as they don’t like the term.
So here’s the thing, if most women don’t want to be associated with the term ‘powerful’ what do they want, and why How Dare She?
Because women DO want to be treated as ‘equal; in their personal and in their professional lives. They DO want to have the same opportunities as men and be rewarded equal pay for equal jobs and they DO want to be recognised for what their femaleness can offer to society and to the economic GDP
Did you know that: If women are involved in the economy identically to men in terms of labour-force participation, hours worked, and sector mix of employment—could add £600 billion of additional GDP to business-as-usual forecasts in 2025.
Mackinsey & Company – Power of parity Report 2016
So if women want equity, DO they need to be empowered?
Many of the barriers to women’s empowerment and equity lie ingrained in cultural norms and many women feel these pressures, while others have become accustomed to being treated inferior to men.
The August 17 blog by the Institute of Leadership and Management(ILM) discussing the recent Clark Shoes controversy over the retailer’s decision to name a girl’s shoe the ‘Dolly Babe’ and a boy’s shoe the ‘Leader’ has demonstrated that gender bias is also a generational problem. This was a subject of a phone-in on Radio 4’s Women’s Hour on 21 August and a twitter user called Anna tells the presenting team that at a parents’ evening, her daughter’s female teacher said, ‘Boys are born to lead; girls are born to please.’ It’s so disheartening to hear.
Societies ‘pink’ and ‘blue’ brainwashing, is, in fact, unconscious bias; we are taking in messages from millions of sources that men and women are not equal and unconsciously women conform, and unconsciously women become disempowered and form an acceptance to it.
Even if men such as, CEO’s, legislators, government leaders etc. are aware of the benefits women’s empowerment and participation can have, many are scared of disrupting the status quo and continue to let societal norms get in the way of development.
So why is empowering women so important?
Empowered women will recognise the importance and significance of contributing to decision making in their own lives and in the workplace. Empowered women will become role models for their daughters and those they lead and influence. Empowered women will embrace their feminine power and have no need or desire to be masculine. Empowered women will change social attitudes and mindsets that disempower. Empowered women will become the norm.
Empowered women are the future
To achieve this, change needs to happen, and only those women who are ‘empowered’ can dare to shape this change. Women all over the world are daring to challenge the norm, they are empowering themselves to be the leaders of their own change, men are not the only barrier; acceptance is.
How Dare She
Check out more about Heather and the How Dare She project at www.heathergordon.scot
If you liked this blog try FINDRA founder Alex’s blog about her journey – From small Acorns