“Women Empowerment refers to the creation of an environment for women where they can make decisions of their own for their personal benefits as well as for the society.” as stated in “Essay on Women Empowerment: Its Meaning and Importance” (www.ImportantIndia.com, August 6, 2015).
Looking at how an India-based resource defines Women Empowerment may seem like the “global” perspective where we may lose sight of the local, more personal perspective, however women everywhere can easily relate to the definition above.
In keeping the local views of this blog in alignment with the EMPOWER event taking place June 14th, women anywhere can feel negatively and unempowered in their lives as a result of a variety of reasons. Women who have decided to build their own business can feel it even moreso than most. A less-than supportive family network, added financial pressures, competitive business networks or colleagues (often times other women), and a feeling of isolation can wreak mental, emotional, and self-image havoc on a woman entrepreneur.
Women creating businesses and jobs for themselves in Ontario (and Canada as a whole) is steadily on the rise and has been for almost a decade. Entrepreneurship however, is not easy for anyone, especially women. We tend to create a business that is home-based without employees which can create a world of isolation and lacking in motivation and support. Our friends, family, and spouse often don’t understand what is needed of us to make a serious business a success and so take for granted the fact that we “work for ourselves”, often assuming that we’re just available to help them whenever they need it (we’re all just sitting around eating bon bons watching daytime television, after all). Our wife and mother “duties” aren’t taken over by fairies, so we then have a juggling act and need to make compromises either in our business or with our family. Financial understanding and independence can become challenging when launching a business, with added financial pressure on the family unit at startup and potential for spousal expectations that exceed our own for our business. All of these reasons and more can affect our confidence in ourselves, our ability as women, and ultimately make us feel as though we’re not empowered in any way. Make us feel dependent, and not safe and secure in our lives.
How do you make change if this is how you feel? How do you empower yourself? And for those who do feel empowered, what ways can you support others to help them feel empowered?
The tip of the iceberg here, as we delve deeper into this topic at the EMPOWER event with Agnes Apps of Reholistically Speaking, and myself. Come prepared to chat about your own thoughts, challenges, or wins with respect to empowering women in Niagara.
We’ll also be holding a silent auction in support of Gillian’s Place… a local organization that empowers abused women in Niagara.
We’ll see you there!
Jennifer Wallace | June 7, 2016
Jennifer is a financial advisor, business coach, and founder of GWEn.