Women empowerment: The freedom to choose

With the National Council (NC) elections just round the corner, a lot is being said about women’s low participation for leadership roles. From 172 NC candidates, only nine were women.

Women have never had it easy. From juggling house chores, family and work to being a superefficient manager, mum and wife; she is expected to be and do all. Women now have more opportunities than before but research has shown that contrary to expectations, this has led to increased choices causing women to feel more stressed. In fact, women’s happiness levels have actually dropped since the 1970s.

So the term “women’s empowerment” can be viewed alternatively. Feminism has many negative connotations associated with it. It might imply a generation of bra burning women who cannot stand the opposite sex. But this kind of misogyny is radically different from women empowerment that enables women to make the best individual choices.

Every woman is unique with her own gifts and capabilities and therefore different factors will affect her happiness. But it is a given that one thing that will affect her success and happiness is not only the choices that life throws at her, but her attitude or reaction toward them.

Every woman should believe she is a one of a kind wonder: beautiful, special, gifted, strong and powerful enough to bring about positive changes in her family, community and world. If she is bold enough to believe this and carries herself with the confidence, grace and finesse of a lady, she is empowered.

A lady can either lead by example or follow with grace depending on her unique gifts and abilities. This is empowerment. Women are not meant to be competing with men; they should be complementing men because they are hardwired differently- biologically, emotionally and physically.

It is true that women should have access to education, employment and as many choices in life as men. But they should have the freedom to choose whether they want to be a homemaker or head a company. It is up to them to decide what course their life takes. It is their call. And they should not feel guilty about it.

They should never have to feel guilty about the choices they make about their lives.

In a nutshell, true women’s empowerment could be defined as this: giving women the freedom to make choices.