by Liesha Petrovich | Featured Contributor
We each have our own personal journey towards empowerment.
We each come from unique circumstances, life experiences and financial opportunities. And we all have our own hopes and dreams. We see powerful women and we want to emulate their success. Especially, the amazing rags to riches stories of women like Oprah Winfrey and J.K. Rowling.
Yet, many of us will never have an easy path to empowerment. The World Bank explains that women are facing an uphill battle:
“Girls with little or no education are far more likely to be married as children, suffer domestic violence, live in poverty, and lack a say over household spending or their own health care than better-educated peers, which harms them, their children, and communities.”
Finding success in business is difficult enough. Add in inequality issues and it can seem impossible. However, in the world of women’s empowerment, this idea comes up all the time:
“If only I knew this when I was younger; life would have been so different.”
I say this all the time and wish my younger self knew a fraction of the hard-earned wisdom I have now. I became empowered purely through necessity and determination. I didn’t have a clue and stumbled my way towards self-sufficiency. Thankfully, there are great ways for young women to bypass a few decades of feeling powerless.
Learn How Dreams and Manifestation are Connected
With the right training and mindset, it’s possible for younger women to learn powerful skills at a younger age. Bonnie Bucker, PHD, set out to empower young girls and women by creating a movement called Dream Your World, a program for girls and women ages 8-29 to learn now to dream, manifest and create positive changes in their lives. The idea was for Dream Your World to hold online conferences to empower young women regardless of where they were lived.
Bonnie and her team partnered with webinar platform Clickmeeting to reach a global – and often underserved – audience with coaching, classes, workshops and support. Together, they created the global, online event, Dream Your World Into Being. Bonnie explains how she was able to connect with young women from around the world:
“We wanted to have a conference FOR THE WORLD and 17 countries were represented. This is, first of all, amazing!”
Regardless of education or poverty levels, young women from around the world can learn about empowerment. And they can all bring their voices back to their communities where the real change begins.
Helping Women Entrepreneurs Find Funding
We hate to say that it all comes down to money. But no matter how much bootstrapping we do, sometimes it just comes down to money.
Since we know women with little education are the most vulnerable to financial limitations. Operation Hope Small Business Empowerment program hopes to change that:
“Many people in low-wealth communities have big dreams, but no way to put them into action. Those in underserved neighborhoods often have difficulty getting start-up funding for businesses due in part to poor credit, lack of capital, and limited access to bank services.”
Many years ago, I participated in a similar program for my own business. Not only did I get funded, but they helped me refine my business plan. They happily answered my questions and help us create a long-term savings plan that allowed us to survive our crucial first few years.
Talk about empowerment!
Don’t Like Things? Change Them!
One of the most empowering moments in our lives is understanding that we actually have a lot of power. Throughout history, women have identified problems and offered solutions. Although most of us haven’t been the ones in power to enact those plans.
But now things are changing. In fact, the number of women running for Congress has more than doubled since 2016! That’s 431 women running for office nationwide!
This hopeful trend is amazing, yet it’s not the main point. You don’t need to run for office to become empowered (although that’s a great idea!). You can make phone calls to your representatives and ask them to support legislation to end the gender pay gap. Join your kid’s PTO, volunteer to coach, or even start a new side business. Support local and online women-owned businesses that share your social values. The boldest step towards empowerment is understanding that we have many options.
Because there are no limitations on us except the ones we put there ourselves.
Liesha’s a freelancer by day and Kyokushin Black Belt by night.
She’s the author of Killing Rapunzel: Learning How to Save Yourself Through Determination, Grit, and Self-Employment (her mother hates the title – but it’s a metaphor mom!). She talks freelancing adventures at Microbusiness Essentials.