What it means to be empowered differs from person to person. For some, it’s taking strength in personal traits, such as confidence or modesty. For others, action and results remains the core part of their empowerment. All are completely valid and beautiful paths in becoming strong people.
To be empowered as a woman creates opportunities and breaks society’s “glass ceiling.” Today because of the tireless efforts of our mothers, grandmothers, and ancestors, there are women in high positions of every branch of society. Do we still have a lot of work to do, oh of course yes. But think of where we would be if the women that have come before us had not taken a stand to break the patriarchal structure of society.
For myself, I have found empowerment through two threads in my life. The first is my relationship with the Goddess. She has always been next to me, reminding me that I have value. As I believe in her, I believe in myself. I especially find this in work with my patroness, Persephone. Her story of her becoming Queen of the Underworld reminds me that even in the bleakest circumstances, you can find your strength and grow to love. The second is a series of fantastic examples of empowered women in my life:
- My grandmother: She pursued advanced education in a male-dominated field at a time when women rarely went to college. She also has been a source of encouragement in my life and instilled in me the value of faith no matter what religion a person may be.
- My boss: I met my employer almost 10 years ago and she’s a good family friend. Not only did she help me in my college search, but also gave me my first job. Her academic path is a similar to mine, so she has been a wealth of knowledge over the years.
- A Sunday School Teacher: When I was in middle and high school, my parents required that I attend Sunday school despite my extreme moral objections. Fortunately for me, my teacher picked up on the fact that none of her students wanted to be there and used the time as an open forum to discuss personal problems and current events. She treated every kid with immense respect, recognizing that our parents and teachers did not give us this luxury. And she set me on my political path. One day I got really upset about environmental policy (I still do) and when I asked her who could fix that problem, she simply said, “You.”
Men empower women as well by becoming living examples that the gender dichotomy is bull shit. For myself, I had a fantastic high school teacher who worked tirelessly to eliminate students’ preconceptions about gender hierarchy. He emphasized free thinking and self expression as tools to self empowerment.
Ladies, this is the month in which we celebrate these women and men in our lives. They have helped to form us and teach us what it means to live our lives on our own terms. As you are empowered, may you empower those around you and continue the cycle.
© Ariadne Woods