Be the Change you Want to See

On March 8th, we celebrate International Women’s Day to honour women’s achievements and promote gender equity. It’s a day to reflect on progress made towards gender equity, while recognizing the enduring challenges like bias, discrimination, and limited opportunities, that undermine women’s self-worth. Overcoming these challenges doesn’t always need grand gestures. Small acts of empowerment also have significant impact, creating a ripple effect and inspiring others to take action, and lead to broader changes in policies, laws, and social norms.

Regardless of your gender, here are some small things that you can say in your day-to-day life, to a woman – personally or professionally – to make her feel empowered.

Voicing out opinion – Women face challenges in expressing their opinions due to gender stereotypes, power dynamics, fear of backlash, discrimination, and limited opportunities. Giving them a platform to share their thoughts is a powerful way to show respect and inclusion. Try these phrases and watch their pleasant surprise.

  1. Your voice matters and I’m listening.
  2. What do you think?
  3. What’s your take on this?
  4. Let’s hear from (her name)!
  5. I’d like to hear more about what you just said.
  6. I might not agree with you, but I still respect your perspective.

Being Supportive – A woman may just need a nudge to feel comfortable engaging in a conversation or public speaking. Using supportive phrases can encourage her to pursue opportunities and reach her goals.

  1. You can do it!
  2. I’m here to help.
  3. I agree with what you are saying.
  4. Take your time to figure it out.
  5. You are doing an amazing job. Keep up the great work!

Respect – Respecting a woman is the greatest gift. Being seen is very empowering as courtesies and helpful actions by women often go overlooked. Convey your respect and admiration by saying.

  1. Go ahead and finish what you were saying.
  2. Thank you!
  3. Your contribution will always be valued.
  4. I am proud of the person you are and all that you have accomplished.
  5. I see that you disagree and I want to fully consider your view before moving forward.

Independent – Empowering women to be emotionally and financially independent is essential as it enables them to take control of their lives and make their own decisions, contributing to an increased self-worth. This allows women to move beyond traditional gender roles and challenge societal norms, making them role models for other women seeking to achieve independence. Dr. Kristina Hallett nails this: “Just because you want to” is a sufficient reason.”

Encouraging women to express their opinions, respecting their individuality, and acknowledging their achievements are all steps towards building a more inclusive and equal society. Let us all be their allies, not just on Women’s Day, but every day.


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