Over the past years, the term female or women's empowerment has received lots of attention in the media. We're surrounded by femvertising, new platforms are launching and the hashtag #femaleempowerment hits more than 600.000 posts on Instagram. However, there is no common definition on what this phrase actually represents.
When trying to explain female empowerment, we need to share the genuine opinion of women. In this way we allow the female voice to become louder and more powerful and reveal the reality of the female experience. So, what does female empowerment now mean to women of our generation? When asked, 14 women from diverse backgrounds answered:
"Women empowerment means looking around to find those women that we love, and to make a garden together to harvest, in which we can grow together, care for each other, and save each other from those who’d not hesitate to hurt us, just for the sake of it. It means finding women allies not only vertically, but more importantly horizontally, it means to listen rather than speaking all the time, it is a place in which we can and have to show our vulnerabilities, this is the only way we can decolonize the narratives that we have been told."
Teresa & Jana
"Female empowerment to us means enjoying and engaging in a global sisterhood that is inclusive and highly supportive of each other online and offline. It also means relentlessly growing together, learning about and appreciating each other. And: fighting together for equality and standing up for each other. And of course, celebrating each other to the fullest."
"Last week I ran by a billboard of an advertisement of a famous German car brand. On the poster was, next to the car, a black woman. I was surprised - happily of course - yet sad about it.
Female empowerment is for me the hope, that someday I will not be surprised, if I see a beautiful black woman on a car advertisement. It will be f**king normal. We need this to be normal. We are all equal. Women can do anything!"
"Female empowerment implies that women strengthen each other positively by drawing on the magical and determining power of their solidarity and genuine team spirit.
From this strong female power many old cultures drew inspiration, in which these characteristics were recognized and effective (e.g. the nomadic people of Persia). Today women need to recollect these skills and actively engage in empowering each other. This will create new dynamics that we urgently need in a supposedly one-sided rational and male-dominated world."
"To me, Empowerment means focussing on the strong bond between us women rather than seeing each other as competition. When I stopped being jealous I quickly realized, how empowered other women can make you feel. Actively encouraging and helping one another is creating this strong connection that will also inspire and strengthen you as an individual."
"It's about being true to yourself and in so doing leading your life, and interactions with others, from a place of authenticity. It's about finding that 'you', nurturing it, and letting it drive you like a compass, with intuition, knowledge, curiosity, kindness and humility."
"Female empowerment means being brave enough to question and go against social and gender norms — to go against what one is taught. It means redefining beauty, power and womanhood as a whole."
"Female empowering is helping each other to overcome limiting believes and patterns.
Many of us struggle to reach independence and to live their full potential because of conditioned role models about women. Let's support each other to identify which limiting belief are keeping us from reaching out to get what we want to do and be!"
"Empowerment literally means to impart power to someone who lacks it. It is given and not claimed. That pretty much is against the essence of feminism. I strongly believe that women have always been strong and therefore cannot be empowered. The strength is right within them and has always been. All they need to do is tap in their inner most femininity and nourish it."
"Female empowerment means believing that all women are important, beautiful and valid, regardless of what stereotypes and patriarchal expectations say. Sometimes that means lifting up and supporting the women around you, and sometimes that means knowing when to ask for help. Either way, it means being there for your sisters and knowing that they’ve got your back too."
"My personal Mantra is: I have all the power I need to make my dreams my reality. Female Empowerment means to me that women have the opportunity to increase their female power. They can develop their full potential and create their life according to their own ideas and wishes."
"With female empowerment, we can overcome gender stereotypes and recreate our role in society. It’s an act of liberation! We all should be able to have complete control of our lives, to make our own choices and decisions with a sense of self-worth, respect and dignity."
"When creating new systems, spaces and platforms for female empowerment, it is integral that we include those who are socially and historically marginalized; those who identify as female while also being of color, trans or not able-bodied. When we engage active allies, we collectively lift everyone up. That's the kind of girl power I like to see!"
"Female empowerment means for me to let woman decide by themselves the life they want to live, the path they want to follow and the way or the mean to do that. It means also trusting them to choose by themselves what is best. It means also being free of gender rules."
Written by Bernak Kharabi