"What makes you feel empowered?"
This International Women's Day, we want to focus on empowerment. What makes a woman feel empowered and why is this so essential? While attitudes are changing, women still face a considerable amount of issues. For instance, three in ten people globally (30%) pick out sexual harassment as the top issue facing women, which is in line with findings in 2018 when the figure was 32%.
More often than not, the culture we are a part of has the utmost demands from a woman. The societal standards are patriarchal in nature, which has adverse and negative effects on the way a woman lives her life. These norms can be worse depending on the culture or the society you are a part of. In most parts of India, women aren't allowed to speak in front of men, women must dress "decently" always and ask the permission of their husbands before leaving the house. The statistics aren't so good either. According to National Crime Records Bureau, in 2016, over 58,000 rapes were reported across India. In Delhi, the capital of India, almost 4,000 sexual harassment cases were reported in the same year.
Changing dynamics, however, means that women have to learn to protect and empower themselves in the spaces men would have dominated before. Among the few things women can do is learn to empower themselves emotionally and mentally.
When the world seems bleak, or rather, we seem to be losing hope, it is important to continue to do little but significant things in our lives to uplift ourselves. On top of our daily lives, we also face an abundance of ongoing news from all platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Switching off from these can be hard to do when most of us rely on them to keep in touch with our family and friends. However, such news can often leave us feeling empty and confused, while questioning our self-worth.
For this article, I interviewed some of our very own women in the Commit2Change team. Commit2Change is founded and run by women, and it is because of our education and persistence that we are here today. We recognize that thousands of girls do not get the same opportunity and that is why we urge you to donate so women can continue to inspire other women to do their best.
Gayathri Segar says, "Taking ownership of a project, professional or personal - and seeing it through to its succesful completion. The sense of satisfaction in taking something from start to finish is incredibly empowering."
Being help responsible for a project, as Gayarthri put across so well, can help boost the self-esteem because you are accountable to make a certain project come alive. Whether it's the next big presentation at work or simply buying groceries to cook yourself a hearty meal- finding ownership in the little things one does can help feel empowered.
Sanwari Gupta believes in putting in her 100% to everything she does. She says, "I may not be able to become anything I want to be, but I can be a whole lot more of what I am." She continues to try to apply this to everything she does and claims there is nothing more empowering than that.
Shruti Ganguly pipes in to say that the endless possibilities make her feel empowered. The notion of possibilities would mean having the hope and desire to make change happen, to make the space for positivity and growth.
Sumana Setty and Kiran Rai mentioned freedom and love as their tools to reach a level of empowerment in their lives, which could mean various things to different people, but we do know one thing for sure: love is freedom, through love we can find healing, compassion, care and growth.
We need to continue to show such compassion towards women right's- because while we have achieved a considerable lot in our time, there's still mountains to climb and rocks to turn. We can do it, by being mindful allies to women, and continue to support the causes that can help drive the society forward.
Happy IWD from the Commit2Change team, and Women's History Month. Stay strong, stay empowered.
Donate to commit2change today and help us help women!
Written by Ruwi Shaikh, a content strategist living in Brooklyn.