Empowerment Begins With Us

“From the time we're little girls, we're taught to compete…I need to be prettier, taller, smarter, my hair needs to be straighter, curlier, whatever it is. I need to get the better looking guy. I need to always be better than because we're taught to come from a place of lack as women.” This statement from Sophia Nelson, author of The Woman Code, illustrates something we as women need to address this Women’s History Month. From powerful ladies in media to everyday interactions, women easily put each other down. Here are some small steps which, with all ladies working together, can end this vicious cycle that inhibits the path toward equality. Female empowerment starts with us.

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1) Unabashedly boast about your friends. We’ve all been guilty of it at some point or another – being around other women and suddenly having to gossip to talk about our friends. News flash: nobody’s perfect! Women who want to be perfect in their imperfections need to throw that love around like confetti. 

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2) Compliment your fellow women. Sometimes women think that building up another means bringing themselves down – in reality, cruelty is what makes us inferior. Strive to go beyond telling a girl she’s pretty or has a cute outfit that day; although these are things we love to hear, women deserve to be known for kindness, compassion, and so much more. 

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3) Stand up for them. It’s a question we’ve heard since elementary school, the one about whether we’re just going to sit on the sidelines when a person is being hurt. Sadly, many of us do, because it’s easy, and it’s safe. Whether on issues big or small, we need to have each other’s backs.

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4) Don’t feed the media. Sadly, the media loves a cat fight, and even strong female celebrities feed it. This “battle” between Nicki and Taylor was seemingly huge, when the real overlying issue is the lack of women with a voice banding together. 

(Perez Hilton)

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5) Don't criticize others' choices, and never change yourself for someone else. 

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6) Listen. From friends to coworkers and grandmothers, women have powerful stories to share. It starts with us to give women a voice.

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7) And share your own story. You never know how it might make a difference.

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8) Consume female-positive media. All forms of popular culture, from country music to reality television, can contain derogatory statements toward women; that doesn’t make it acceptable. Turn it off, speak up about what you see, and read some Jane Austen.

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9) Invite people in. College women have the unique opportunity of being surrounded by people from all over who started out in the same exact way, yet we still get lost in cliques and narrow mindsets. Today, go out of your way to speak to other awesome women in your campus.

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10) Delight in the successes of others. Every girl deserves a chance to shine.

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