The 4th World Conference on Women in Beijing 1995 offered new dimensions on women’s empowerment at the individual and collective level.
Individual: Referring to a woman’s inner power, her self-image, identity and psychological/emotional strength to assume responsibility over the life she wanted to live.
Collective: Referring to the extent by which governments, laws, institutions or local communities allowed or not women’s personal growth, social development and decision-making.
But these levels of analysis implied 4 areas of work, according to a 2007 report by the Women and Development Commission:
- The power of having: Lands, jobs, money, security, technology, educational opportunities, access to resources
- The power of knowing: Education, leadership skills and practices, critical analysis, cognitive/emotional/psychological intelligence
- The power of wanting: Inner power, psychological and spiritual strength to overcome fears, achieve goals and dreams, develop self-confidence and improves one’s image
- The ultimate power: Decision-making, taking responsibilities, holding herself and other accountable, releasing fear and acting free of judgement using wisely her other three resources of acquired strength
Therefore, women’s empowerment is more inner than outer work. It’s not simply cheering each other up and patting others in the back by how beautiful or strong they “look”.
It is a road of transformation to be continued everyday not just on special occasions.
It is a call to free ourselves from society’s chains, family pressures, economic or capitalist directions with compassion towards ourselves and others.
The act of empowering is revolutionary in itself. It can easily be diluted in superficial campaigns because it implies releasing old patterns/ways of thinking-behaving and being responsible enough to create a new world for one self.
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