Though the world makes strides toward gender equality every day, many women still face institutional challenges, workplace discrimination, societal stereotyping and targeted violence. In the United States and around the world, people still have plenty of work to do before women achieve the equality and safety they deserve.
For some women, a society that empowers them rather than tearing them down may feel like a far-off dream. Some of the struggles facing women today can be difficult to hear. What can individual women and allies do to alleviate some of the distress caused by large-scale problems?
Believe it or not, everyone has the power to make the world a better place for women, even if that means helping just one person. When someone empowers another woman, they empower all women. By making one woman feel capable, safe and heard, you help ease some of her burdens and encourage her to do the same for others.
Though achieving large-scale gender equality will require organization, activism, charity and a shift in social mindset, empowering women can pave the road to getting there. Plus, empowering others just makes the world a nicer place to live.
Here are seven simple ways women can empower other women:
1. Stay Informed About Women’s Issues
It’s difficult to help other women if you don’t know what’s going on in the world. Empower other women — and yourself — by staying informed about women’s issues locally and around the world.
Start by visiting a local library. There, patrons can find current issues of newspapers and magazines as well as books of feminist thought and history. People can also stay informed, and help others do the same, by carefully curating a selection of reliable online news sources. Whenever you encounter an article addressing a development in a women’s rights issue, you can empower other women by sharing it.
2. Listen to Other Women
Everyone has different life experiences. Intersectional feminism involves acknowledging this fact in the context of feminist thought and activism. Women of color, trans women, women in same-sex relationships and immigrant women all experience different struggles influenced by their intersecting identities.
It’s important to learn how to best support other women by listening to those who have different experiences than you. Keep an open mind and simply listen. You can expose yourself to new perspectives by broadening your friend groups, listening to people on the internet or attending talks by notable women speakers.
3. Mentor a Girl or Young Woman in Your Community
Despite progress, women still struggle to advance in the workplace, particularly in typically male-dominated fields such as business and tech. And, as many people know, they also make less money on average than men in similar positions. This means women need all the help they can get in the workplace.
Role models and mentors can help young people gain confidence and experience in their fields. Women can empower others by mentoring young girls and women in their community, helping them see their potential and opportunities and advising them on dealing with adversity.
4. Celebrate Success Stories
Part of empowering women involves celebrating success when you see it. The more examples of successful women people see, the more they understand and believe that women are capable of succeeding.
So, women can easily empower others by celebrating women’s success. This could involve congratulating a female coworker on a job well done, sharing stories about women leaders or praising excellent media and artwork made by other women.
5. Donate to Organizations That Help Women
Some of the most pressing issues in women’s rights occur away from home. Consider donating to organizations that support women around the world, like Equality Now and Orchid Project, for example.
By donating to causes that improve life for women across the globe, you can help empower all women.
6. Reserve Judgment
To empower women, sometimes people need to reserve their judgment. It can be tempting to deal with insecurity by putting other people down, but this makes everyone feel worse.
Try to reserve judgment for other women, especially those you don’t really know. Likewise, bolster your self-esteem by treating yourself with generosity and kindness.
7. Lead by Example
One of the best ways you can empower others is by empowering yourself. This means leading by example, treating others how you want to be treated, believing in yourself and pursuing your goals even when facing adversity.
When you set an example for other women, you can inspire change and solidarity.
Empower Others Through Action
Women still have a long way to go before they can achieve equality. By empowering others through action, women can contribute to this process while making the world a friendlier place.