– On Women Empowerment (or Basic Human Rights)
A while ago the 3 lovely ladies at mylifelines.co created a Women Empowerment tag on their blog, encouraging their readers to write for their tag.
As some of you may know, the past month hasn’t been the easiest; I’ve increased work hours at Special Minds, I have done a pretty heavy duty post on the Corey Taylor authorship, that took a lot out of me, I’m in a process with the dentist that requires quite a few appointments, sadly, and I am terrified of dentists – add to the fact that my mood in the winter season hits “LOW” due to seasonal affective disorder and that this social/mental rehab in the social system only runs on 3 month periods and I have no idea if I will get approved for a new turn – guys, I’m mentally exhausted. There is no joke in that statement at all.
This has meant that this post is a little delayed, but I really wanted to do it and Abby, Lauren and Jordan over at mylifelines.co were kind enough to let me do so.
The task is very simple:
- Answer 5 question from the tag-post on mylifelines.co
- Tag 5 inspirational and powerful women to do the same
- Link the post to https://mylifelines.co/women-wednesday-women-empowerment-tag
- And finally tag them on Twitter (@my_lifelines) and/or Instagram (@mylifelines_) with #WomenWednesday.
So – it’s not at all that complicated. Only problem is, to me, there is so much to say at the first question. I will however strive to keep it as short as possible and then – when times and I get better, I can elaborate on the preliminary thoughts. So let’s kick it off…
1 – What does women empowerment mean to you?
Empowerment is to lend your strength or voice or work power to someone, who can benefit from your “donation”. To me, I always think of “you” and “someone” as sharing a common goal, but “you” having a greater platform to speak from. Pretty much like those music collaborations, where big stars collaborate with someone new and relatively unknown artist, in order to boost the career of the latter. You could call that “artist empowerment”.
Women empowerment is quite simply women supporting and empowering other women. It can be female co-workers helping each other out, it can be female bloggers promoting other female bloggers and so forth.
Women empowerment is a result of – or counteract to – the strongly patriarchal society (and religions) that has been deeply engraved in our roots for more than a thousand years. From women talking about their struggles together, to public discussions on whether or not women should be allowed to vote, we have come a long way since then.
But we are not done yet.
I actually don’t like the term “women empowerment” – simply because I hate that this is a world, where women empowerment is still necessary. To me, the ideal would have to be that the term got outdated or irrelevant. That would mean that we have reached total equality between the genders. When you look for a new co-worker or manager, you should automatically look at the qualifications – not the gender.
I am one of those people that – although being born biologically as a woman – don’t think 50/50 forced gender distribution is a good thing. And let me explain why, before you crucify me:
If you can have 10 persons on a board and you are 9 and need to find one, you should look at the best qualifications in the candidates. If you want to push a company forward, whatever the concept, you should look:
- at the qualifications already present in the 9 members of the board,
- which qualifications the board lacks in order to get ahead and
- which qualifications you could use more of in said board.
If you insist on a 50/50 gender distribution in the board, you risk putting yourself in the situation where you turn down the better qualified for the job. And business is business; it’s about keeping a company healthy, safe and growing so that you can provide secure jobs and additional jobs.
I don’t mind if said board is 90% male. I don’t mind if it’s 90% female – as long as the members are chosen from qualifications and not their gender.
Some companies master this – others don’t. And this is probably why we still need the “women empowerment” terminology.
Because, as said, we are not there yet!
A while ago, I wrote a post which was a response to the entire Kavanaugh scandal in America, “Investigation Of Sexual Assault Matters!, in which I among other issues point out that there is a underlying danger to the high focus on women empowerment, women rights, feminism etc.
Meaning that boys/men get sexually assaulted too, men experience gender discrimination too – however not at the equivalent rate to women, but it still HAPPENS!
And we, the women, should be wise enough to know and acknowledge that there is no such thing as a black and white world. The world is full of grey nuances, and we, the women, can be bitches too. Sorry, but some of our gender representatives ARE! Some of our gender representatives are abusing and molesting children. Like I wrote to my fellow countrymen on another matter in the Corey Taylor review:
– never forget that when you point your finger, there are always three fingers pointing back at you.
I write this post because women empowerment is still relevant – sadly. But before some of us start crucifying “manspreaders” or just in general the entire male gender (sisters, COME ON!! You’re better than that), maybe we should focus on the parts of this planet, where women still, to this day, are not allowed to e.g. vote. (Because apparantly we don’t know shit about anything and therefore should not have an opinion)
Where women are punished if they have “the audacity” to get themselves raped(!!). (Because we all know that the rapist can’t be blamed for basic needs)
Where women are expected to nod and agree whenever a man speaks. (Because obviously, as we don’t know shit, we need someone to tell us said shit – and that they do! And we should not take one ounze of it!)
There is nothing wrong in the more priviledged part of the planet with helping a fellow woman out, especially not if you believe in her cause and her opinions etc. And jobwise, especially not if she is the best qualified for the job opening and it seems like the company is basing their decision on gender – then by all means: fight and speak up.
Because gender should not be a deciding factor and we should call out the situations where it happens.
But I urge everyone to remember that there are parts of this planet, where women have yet to see the relevance of the term “empowerment” – because they are still fighting for their basic rights as human beings. They are still fighting for their voices to even be heard.
Let me put it this way; I believe in empowerment. I believe in equality. I also believe in women empowerment. I do not believe anyone should have an advantage merely because of the body parts, they were born with between their legs. I am a lot more interested in what they have between their ears.
Let me show you two examples of the human species that most definitly has something between their ears worth paying attention to:
2 – What woman/women do you most admire? Why?
The Danish writer Sara Omar, who wrote The Dead Washer (Dødevaskeren). I am uncertain if the book exists in English, but it was a terrifying read of the reality of women in strict Muslim societies. There are so many things, rights and “priviledges” that we take for granted, but that is not extended to our female sisters in other countries and cultures. That, I believe, is something we need to pay a lot more attention to, while still respecting people’s religion. You see; I don’t believe that they rule each other out. Religion and equality. I just don’t see, why they would. I see why one type of perception of said religion (any religion) could work against equality. But not if you focus on the essence of religious ethics. But hell, what do I know? I’m an Atheist and while I have read both the Bible and the Q’uran, I should not in any way claim to know how it is like to believe in a god.
In those matters I choose to pay attention to women like Sara Omar; women who risk everything, even their lives, to speak up for equality and humanity. They are the ones that should do most of the talking and the work itself – but I will do my part and share when I can.
And so should we all.
These stories need to be told.
The next question will reveal why Sara Omar is such a powerful woman.
But before we get to that, let me introduce another Danish woman, Özlem Cekic, who is a former member of Parliament and now a strong and fierce public debater, who for the past years has worked on a new term called dialogue coffee. Her work focuses on the – unfortunately – growing division in the Danish population, where on one side, a group believes in equality and humanitarian aid etc – and the other seems to be neck deep in racial discrimination, hate of refugees etc. for the reason that they believe all the “foreigns” are making Denmark an unsafer place to live in.
I might seek out trouble from said groups for saying this, but fuck that: while they claim that “our country is so unsafe”, let’s keep in mind and let me tell you, my dear reader, that Denmark is one of the safest and most secure places on the planet. And I’m not just saying that because I love my country and it sounds cool!
Cekic is very active on e.g. Twitter, where she relentlessly “fights” back the prejudice. And when I say fight, I mean, she stays in the zone of diplomatic dialogue. She insists constantly on the fact, that if we only TALK together, instead of screaming AT each other, we would find a much better understanding of one another. She is actually known to visit people, who has been very offensive via e.g. hatemail, to have a dialogue over a cup of coffee – hence dialogue coffee – she sits down with the same people, who has called her a pig, a whore, a traitor and things that are worse… and talks with them, try to understand where they’re coming from and why they use the rhetorics they do and try to make them see, where she is coming from and what that kind of rhetoric does to a human being.
And the woman has a point, not only regarding refugees and racial matters, but in general, this is the way to slowly work against any kind of stigma.
She is one of my key inspirational sources, whenever I feel doubt about a post, on whether I was too open or too blunt.
Cekic is the one who inspires me to keep talking about mental health issues, even if her topic of debate is different from mine.
She believes in providing knowledge and perspective, because she understands that without those, the human race is pretty much fucked (pardon the language).
I’ll show you a little bit about her here from her TED talk earlier in 2018 – she is so amazing. I can only hope that you agree and that in her words you will find some sort of inspiration yourself.
3 – Share with us a story, drawing, or video that you think says “empowered women.”
I want to share the New Year speech 2017/18 from Sara Omar. Her bravery and her strength brought tears to my eyes and it still does today, as I listen to her words again. The video from YouTube is in Danish but underneath the screen on YouTube, you will find the speech translated into English. Please, please, please….
… if you pay attention to anything important today – let it be Sara.
4 – Share with us the best lesson you’ve learned in leadership.
The best lesson in leadership that I have gotten, I felt was a little simplified. I still believe it is simplified to this day, although I also must agree with my former area manager, who told me this, while I was working as a restaurant manager:
“Linda, the way your employees behave, their work ethics AND their flaws, points directly back to you”.
I hesitated at first. I didn’t get it. I thought it was lacking nuances. I still do.
But to an extend I also have to say, that this is one of the key important things I’ve learned in and about leadership, because it addresses what YOU can do as a leader to reach a satisfying result. There has been a few employees I’ve wanted to fire, but I wasn’t allowed to do so by superiors up the food chain. My unwillingness to go against superiors and trust my gut damaged my team. My extreme patience with troubled employees and my lack of consequence occasionally damaged the strength of the team. My high work ethics and my insistense on customer service and reaching sales records etc, and general down to earth mood has pushed the team forward. So the lesson goes for the better and the worse.
While I believe in the nuances and keeping an eye on them, I must say that this lesson has taught me to look inwards whenever I was facing a management issue:
- Have I done something to escalate this?
- Is this happening due to previous decisions?
- How can I best solve the issues?
- What can I do to avoid these things in the future, i.e. what can I do differently?
It also stresses how easy it can be just to cast blame: “Oh, but I told him to do that, but he never listens” – The key questions are:
1) why does he never listen
2) what is it about YOU, that makes him a trouble worker
3) are you clear when you tell him off
4) do you follow up on consequences.
Because maybe he IS just a dick that is too much up his own a-hole to be part of a team – but then YOU need to show him who’s boss – and ultimately show him the door, if he continously refuse to do what you tell him to do.
But I have heard it – and still hear it – in managing discussions, even in relationships etc.
The lack of ability to acknowledge your own part in the problem at hand.
It is not just the best lesson in leadership I’ve had – it’s also one of the best lessons in life, I have ever received.
5 – What cause do you most want to bring awareness to? Why?/What does it mean to you?
This is actually a cruel and unfair question because there are so many causes.
Obviously, myself, I’m working against stigma in mental health issues, trying to spread knowledge and awareness on mental illness and autism, both of which I know up close and personal.
But like I said before; there are parts of this planet where human beings are lacking very basic human rights. Basic human needs. Prejudice on race, hierarchy, gender, sexuality and so forth.
Compared to that, mental health stigma seems to be a “luxury problem”.
But this is the scene, the arena, where I know my weapons, where I can locate the hide outs blindfolded and have the home field advantage.
This is the arena in which I can do the most good with what I have.
We are touching back on the earlier topic on qualifications.
Some people are better skilled in certain arenas – and those skills should be used where they do the best work.
I am not going to pull out one cause to top them all – I am going to tell you, that I believe we ALL as human beings have opportunity and obligation to do SOMEthing.
I am telling you to do your bit, pull your weight. If your ressources limit that to helping the old lady next door carrying up her grocery bags, then that’s fine. But look up, look around and look inwards: the ability and ressources you have – how can you best put those into play?
When you figure out the answer to that – do it!
The world is full of people too self-absorbed to give a fuck about anyone else.
Be the better human!
The 5 powerwomen you should know about;)
This will include both their Twitter tags and their URL’s because – you should go check them out. And to the powerwomen mentioned; please feel no pressure, take part in this if you like, but first and foremost this is meant to be my appreciation to you and what you do.
@cats_herding @Bethannestagram and @LifeItOrNot : You have been massive supporters when I fly and when I fall. You each inspire me in your own way and each of you, I know, know life from its more troublesome and challenging sides. Each of you find ways to deal and to rise and the amount of compassion you show is something to aspire for. Thank you for being here. <3 <3 <3
@blog_fibro : we have not interacted that much, but I know someone with fibro and through that how difficult even simple tasks can be with fibro. The fact that you choose to share your struggle, empowers so many in your situation. Your words help create awareness – never forget the importance of what you do. Stay strong.
@thejoyousliving : I don’t think we have interacted, but being my curious self, I have read a bit from your blog and I really enjoy the positive vibe I get from it. The reason I tag you, is because I can also be a little be playful. You wrote, opening your Blogmas, that it was always exciting to try new things…well, I kinda took you up on that;) I hope you will continue to share the positivity and awareness – and the books, oh the books, let’s not forget the books. Stay joyful.
Thank you to Abby, Lauren and Jordan at mylifelines.co for starting this important tag. I can also mention that they run #WomenWednesday tag where they focus on specific powerful women.HEADER IMAGE TO THIS POST IS COPYRIGHT OF MYLIFELINES.CO