“When the female voice is repressed and stifled, the entire community can easily find themselves cut off from the sacred feminine, depriving themselves of the full image of god.” –Rob Bell
The prevalence of female leaders in our society is slowly but steadily improving.
The road to female empowerment has been a long one, but in the past decade alone, we have reached some significant milestones. The gender pay gap has had a notable increase in attention, the 2016 US Presidental election has a strong female candidate, and there has been a number of female public figures and celebrities standing up for the importance of feminism. There is no denying that the issues of gender equality still have a lot of work left, but we are inching closer and closer to resolving them.
But, perhaps one of the biggest instruments in empowering women has been overlooked.
It is unquestionable that women are taking very proactive roles in their personal, educational and professional lives. With the concept of gender roles and expectations quickly dying, women are taking the authority of living the lifestyles that they truly desire. One of the problems that manifest from this is the limited amount of space in high-pressure industries such as business, politics, and medicine.
Since women are still at a professional disadvantage, they are automatically placed into the position of being competitors.
We love our mothers, our sisters, and our dearest friends yet we still struggle with the subliminal battle of being the successful one in a sea of disadvantaged people. It’s human nature- if there is one highly sought television set left on Black Friday, there is going to be some aggressive behavior among the people fighting for it. The same phenomenon occurs in the professional world, and although it can look empowering, it is inherently damaging to the culture of our female community.
We can strengthen the female community by being a helping hand.
It remains unrealistic and counterproductive to suggest women take a step back in the professional sphere. However, there remains a wonderful amount of opportunity to invest in helping struggling women. The National Women’s Law center released data on national poverty which revealed one in seven women are poor, and four and ten single mothers are in poverty. This painfully sobering statistic conveys just how important it is that women receive the support they need.
Womenaid of Greater Portsmouth is a stunning example of a community that assists women in need.
WomenAid is a charity that aims to raise funds to assist impoverished women. Considering the statistic above, it’s clear just how vital it is that the need for help is recognized. Being an organization local to me, I had the pleasure of talking to one of the women involved with this project.
When I asked her opinion on one of the best tools for women who are struggling, I was intrigued by her response:
I think education is the single most important tool to help women who are struggling. Often times, just educating people about their finances and how they’re spending their money vs. what they’re making can make a huge difference. We are continually impressed by the welfare agents in our communities who assess the big picture of someone’s finances and give expert counsel on how to change and manage their financial affairs in order to get on a better track.
Education is, inarguably, one of the most powerful assets in empowering women of all ages and backgrounds. We have recently been placing so much emphasis on the goal of women gaining complete access to the same professional opportunities as men, that a lot of the other more pressing issues get pushed to the side.
Although it’s getting better, women are still being placed in very difficult and vulnerable places financially. It’s extremely common for women to be placed under the burden of taking care of their children on their own, which results in extreme financial and emotional stress. Statistically, the poverty rate for women is 3.8% higher than men- and already being placed a disadvantage, it’s important for this issue to be acknowledged.
“A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.” ― Steve Maraboli
In the end, helping other women will make all of us stronger.
Organizations like WomenAid work toward a very important goal: creating a network of proactive individuals who work together to help women get on their feet again. WomenAid serves as more than a resource for financial assistance, it gives women the motivation and confidence to pursue their dreams:
For example, Patricia from WomenAid shared with me a story about a single mother that they recently worked with. This young woman wanted to pursue a career in real estate, but because of her responsibilities as a mother and financial troubles, she simply couldn’t afford the expense of the course and exam. Hearing this, WomenAid helped fund the course for this woman, who passed and ending up becoming a successful real estate agent.
The best part of the story doesn’t end there. After all of this, the woman came back to WomenAid. Only this time, she returned to give back her own support. This is a perfect example to demonstrate just how helping other women truly contributes to making all of us stronger as a whole.
Success is wonderful, but being able to give back is truly a remarkable milestone.
TeddyCan believes deeply in supporting charitable acts.
We strive to bring light to organizations that are doing something notably positive for our society. We hope this piece inspired you to bring awareness to the often overlooked issues many women are facing.
Empowerment takes on many different faces, but acts of altruism are certainly one of our favorites.