Being a woman can be hard. Often women have to work twice as hard to get half as far. However, an increasing number of women are setting out to intentionally empower each other.
This article will discuss five ways you can empower women, from modeling self-love and supporting entrepreneurship to helping women in challenging situations.
One of the best ways to empower other women is by modeling positive behaviors. This is especially true if you are a mother or grandmother. Even if you are child-free, how you talk about yourself still affects the women around you. Make sure you are not speaking negatively about your own body or appearance.
For example, most women have experienced what it’s like to have a thinner friend call herself fat. If you call yourself fat, you are not only insulting yourself, you’re insulting every woman with a larger body than yours. When you judge your own body, your friends will wonder if you are judging them too. This could ultimately harm your friendship.
This applies to every part of your life, not just the physical component. If you declare yourself a failure for not being married, you inadvertently insult all of your single friends. If you complain about your lack of career progress, you are inherently criticizing all of your friends who make less money than you. This is why self-criticism can be so dangerous and why self-love is one of the most empowering actions you can take as a woman.
This could come in the form of buying from women-owned businesses, investing in women-owned businesses, or simply encouraging your female friends and family in their business efforts. Forbes found that men were twice as likely to raise $100,000 or more for their businesses than women.
When most women think about how they can support female entrepreneurs, buying from women-owned businesses is often the first thing that comes to mind. While buying from women-owned businesses can significantly impact women, other forms of support can often go even further. Investment can give women the much-needed capital to grow their businesses.
If you have business acumen but aren’t able to invest financially, you might consider becoming a mentor. Employees with mentors are promoted five times more often than those without, and 87% of employees with mentors report feeling empowered. This can be useful for women in any career. If you work in a large organization, consider who you might be able to take under your wing to help. If you work in a small company or alone, you might consider joining networking groups in order to connect with women who could benefit from your mentorship.
Many women feel shy when it comes to asking for mentorship. This is why taking the initiative and setting up a coffee date to discuss career goals can be an excellent way to empower your fellow women. Make sure you are reaching out to women who are interested in mentorship. Keep an eye out for the most motivated women you might help guide, and pay attention to whether they follow up on your offers for mentorship.
If you are just starting your career, consider reaching out to accomplished women who might be interested in being your mentor. Not only can this help you empower yourself, but it can also be a wonderful confidence boost to the women you reach out to.
Women are taught to think of others before they think of themselves. Women who set boundaries can be demonized—even by their own friend group or family. If a woman in your life says no to a request, don’t question why. Women often are expected to justify their boundaries by having other “worthy” obligations. For example, a woman might be judged for having dinner with a friend and missing a PTA meeting. However, missing the same meeting might be deemed “acceptable” if she has to take her child to a doctor’s appointment.
When we question the reasons behind women’s boundaries, we promote the idea that a woman’s time belongs to others and not herself. Men aren’t shamed for going to the gym, drinking with friends, or sleeping in on a Sunday. So why should we shame women for these same things?
In every city, you can find many women in dire situations. Whether you want to help single moms who are struggling to make ends meet or survivors of domestic violence, volunteering for organizations to support other women is a great way to empower women who need it the most.
If you want to make a difference in your community, your best bet is to find an organization already reaching women in need. Working with an organization will typically prove to be more effective than working alone.