Do You Feel Empowered Today?
Today, as we celebrate the achievements of women on International Women’s Day, I wanted to share my thoughts on what it means to be a woman in 2019. The global campaign theme for this year is #BalanceForBetter. Balance is not just a women’s issue, everyone has a part to play — all the time, everywhere. Balance is essential for driving a better working world. Collective action and shared responsibility for driving a gender-balanced world is key.
The first International Women’s Day occurred in 1911. Women have come a long way, yet there’s still more to be achieved. I wanted to give a shout out to the incredible women in politics, entertainment & activism who inspire me. I also wanted to reflect on what I could do to truly make a positive difference in the lives of women everywhere — in the home, the workplace & within my social circle.
One of the most inspiring women on the planet today is Michelle Obama. I just listened to her narrate her initmate & powerful memoir, Becoming, on Audible. Her down to earth nature & candid story telling moved me greatly. She is living proof that a working class girl from the South Side of Chicago who consistently works hard & believes in herself can rise to the top. Michelle was the first female of her generation to go to university at Princeton. She credits her parents for encouraging her to strive to achieve great things & never give up.
I follow Michelle on Instagram & always feel empowered watching her videos. In one of her recents posts, she stresses how important it is to be conscious of the need for inclusion. It’s important to make sure that women are at the table & that their voices are heard in the boardrooms across the world. Whenever there is an opportunity to invite someone in, it is up to us to prioritise filling that seat with a voice that we’re not hearing from— particulary women & minorities.
Michelle encourages us to take the long game perspective & focus on lifting up young girls through mentoring. It is up to us to be there for one another. She believes that when someone shows genuine interest in your growth & development, it can make all the difference in the world.
Lady Gaga is one of my favorite female artists. I’m so thrilled she won a well deserved Oscar for Best Song for her performance of Shallow in A Star Is Born. Her acceptance speech was empowering & moving:
“It’s not about winning, it’s about not giving up. If you have a dream, fight for it. It’s not about how many times you get rejected, or you fall down or you’re beaten up. It’s about how many times you stand up & are brave & keep on going.”
Such inspirational words, right?!
Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani activist for female education & the youngest Nobel Prize laureate. On 9 October 2012, while on a bus after taking an exam, Malala & two of her school friends were shot by a Taliban gunman. Malala was hit in the head with a bullet, remained unconscious & was in a critical condition at the Rawalpindi Institute of Cardiology, but her condition later improved enough for her to be transferred to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.
Malala’s bravery, strength & perseverance in the face of adversity continues to inspire me today. She refused to back down & surrender to those trying to silence her. Instead, she’s an advocate for the right of girls to education. She founded the Malala Fund, a non-profit organization offering education & training to young girls. In 2013, she co-authored I Am Malala, an international best seller. I would recommend this book as essential reading for everyone.
I know I’m just one person but I’m striving to make a positive difference in the lives of the women I interact with on a daily basis. At work I will take time out of my day to mentor a colleague when they need advice or training. Instead of saying, “I’m busy,” to one of my friends when she’s in need of emotional support, I’ll make an effort to be there for her in person. There are so many small ways that we each can make a significant difference in the lives of other women.
Who inspires you to strive to be a better person? Let me know who your female role models are.
Happy International Women’s Day!
Thank you for reading.