The Meaning of Girl Empowerment
Equality, a word we hear a lot in today’s world, but still not often enough. We’re all born equal, as it should be. Girl empowerment can be considered a rather new concept, only to thrive in recent decades. In just a century ago, many girls from all over the world were declined access to education, job opportunities, rights to vote and rights to even make decisions in the household. The reason was simple, just because they were girls, that’s it.
Thankfully, our society has evolved and girls now can do a lot of things, just like men. Girl empowerment represents this process of girls fighting for what they can achieve, who they can be, all the equal rights they were previously declined. It wasn’t an easy process to achieve what we have today, yet it’s still far from enough.
How This Topic is Making Waves in Today's Society
Girls are fighting for equal rights. We’re not trying to show that we are better, but rather that, we’re all born the same and deserve the same rights and opportunities. Some often mistake girl empowerment as something that only third world countries fight for. Just a few weeks ago, there’s a huge protest in Switzerland to fight for equal pay for men and women in the same industry.
More and more begin to be aware of this concept and that men and women should be treated the same, something that many wouldn’t agree to 100 years ago. Many companies now make it a rule to have a certain ratio of men and women on the management board and to maintain a minimum percentage of female employees in the company. Mandatory equal pay for the same position is a law in many countries, especially in European countries. Countries as far as Ethiopia are trying to change the system to grant higher education access to all boys and girls.
Girl empowerment is something every country is fighting for, rich or poor. Something that should be a birthright is such luxury in many parts of this world.
8 Ways to Embrace Girl Empowerment
1. Equal education
Many are lucky enough to have access to free education, while many don’t. It would probably be crazy for you to think that parents have to choose a favorite kid to send to school and the other one just has to start working. This idea may seem very 19th century, yet it’s still happening to many young girls born today. Education shouldn’t be a luxury that only the rich can afford, it should be a basic living standard that every child gets.
2. Equal household expectations
“Stay home mom” is still an idea deep-rooted in many Americans. According to the Department of Labor, women with children show a significantly lower percentage in the labor force than men. Men should just be capable of being a “stay home dad” as women. Who to stay home and who to work shouldn’t be determined by gender, but rather their ability to take care of children and their interest in working or babysitting.
3. Equal pay
While some argue that girls show lower productivity in certain industries than men, so the deviation in wage isn't discrimination, we need to only celebrate companies that support girl empowerment, whether the wage is made by a unit of output, hourly, or monthly. In the end, the unit of wages should be the same. The capable one should be hired for the job, whether it is a boy or a girl.
4. Support yourself and do what you love
Girls can be truck drivers or engineers or electricians too. Don’t let the world define what your gender should do, think about it for yourself. What do you want to do? Who do you want to be? If you want to be a truck driver, just take the driving lessons and start. Be the change you want to see and keep inspiring others.
5. Be a confident girl
The world is full of judgment. There will always be people telling you that you shouldn’t do certain things because you’re a girl. You’re the boss of yourself, don’t let them get inside of your head as long as your actions don’t mean something else getting hurt. Always remember that you’re equal, a concept that was deemed madness a few hundred years ago. If people still don’t see equality today, it’s not your fault, it’s really theirs.
6. Fight against injustice
If you see something wrong, don't stay silent, say something. Be a part of the change. Girls are becoming stronger and valued in society because we care. If you see a girl being mistreated in the society just for being a girl, go ahead and help. Very true that you might not make a difference at the end, but at least you will have voiced out your demands and made your stance. You never know, maybe you could indeed make a difference and change someone's life.
7. Help other girls in need to empower them
It's all about give and take. You're strong and capable. You feel you can accomplish as much as others. Some other girls might not feel the same, given the circumstances of their living environment or society they surround themselves in. Help them see they can just be as capable as you are. Host a talk if you're one of the few women in your field to inspire other girls to join. Or do some volunteering to help the girls in need.
8. Read more about girl empowerment history to fully embrace it
Not knowing the history of girl empowerment means you might not be appreciating it as much as you should. Read more about girl empowerment development, understand its history and value, what we seem ordinary today might not be possible a century ago. By learning about the history, you can fully embrace girl empowerment and live it.
Inspiring speeches from female leaders
1. Malala Yousafzai
Source: Malala Fund
If one man can destroy everything, why can't one girl change it? - Malala Yousafzai
Winning a Nobel prize at the age of 17, Malala continues to inspire all young girls in the world by encouraging them to receive education and to fight for any injustice. She was just an ordinary Pakistani girl, but she believes in equal education for boys and girls, something that almost got her killed. She has proven to the world that girls are just as valuable and should receive the same free education.
She has given many inspirational speeches on different occasions. She takes time to host talks around the world, to inspire young ladies, who will change our society in the future.
2. Michelle Obama
Source: Facebook @Michelle Obama
Every girl, no matter where she lives, deserves the opportunity to develop the promise inside of her - Michelle Obama
One of the most beloved female leaders in recent American history. Michelle Obama is often fighting and sharing her ideas for girl empowerment. She gave a heartfelt speech at the International Women's Day 2017 event to encourage everyone to be part of the change.
3. Margaret Thatcher
Source: Margaret Thatcher Foundation
If you want something said, ask a man: if you want something done, ask a woman - Margaret Thatcher
The former UK Prime Minister was a role model for many young girls in the 1980s and continued to inspire girls today. She showed the world that, a girl too, can be a great leader. She encouraged girls to believe in themselves and to achieve greatness.
Songs on girl empowerment
1. God Is A Woman - Ariana Grande
It's true that women are responsible for creating life and nurture talents.
2. Run the World (Girls) - Beyoncé
A girl empowerment song by the most influential woman, how can you not be convinced?
3. You Don't Own Me - Lesley Gore
Women aren't objects, we're humans too.
4. Born This Way - Lady Gaga
Another influential soul to let you know that you can't choose who you're born with, but you can choose who you want to be.
5. I'm Every Woman - Chaka Khan
Time to awaken your inner woman.
Ideas on How to Increase Awareness of Girl Empowerment
There're so many ways you can show your support and to increase awareness of girl empowerment. Read more books and pay more attention to the news around you, then share them with your friends. Attend some talks to listen to those professional working ladies. Help out girls in your neighborhood, offer them tutorial lessons at a reasonable price and encourage them to be who they want to be.
You may think none of these seems big, but remember, start small and you will harvest something great. All great journeys start with a single step. Don't stop inspiring because you think you will never achieve enough. Even if you can only change one person, to that person, you've already changed the world for her. And that is beautiful.
Girl empowerment has been around for a few decades now, yet we're still not where we want to be in. Benefits for girls in most fields have increased greatly. More and more women are taking up important roles in society and their welfare has also increased a lot. Women are no longer seen objects. We can achieve everything men can.
However's, it's not the end on the long road for women empowerment. Injustice and discrimination against women are still happening in many parts of the world. We’ve come a long way, and we shall keep going, to achieve the Utopia we all dream of.