October 2015, I attended the Women’s Achievers Congress hosted by World Congress Of Overseas Pakistanis #WCOP, in London. The panel discussions consisted of several incredible ladies, from a female cricketer, barrister, entrepreneurs, politicians and fashion/branding experts. Listening to these women was truly inspirational for me. Observing the men in attendance being supportive was affirming the positive trend currently developing.
When it came time for my panel, we covered a number of topics including perceptions and the role of women in the future. During this discussion I explain why I don’t believe in the words: ‘Women’s Empowerment’.
Essentially, women must go forth and DO. Not wait for others to empower them.
Remember the French philosopher Descartes, “Cogito ergo Sum”, “I think therefore I am”? Well, I flip that… I AM, therefore I THINK. I don’t wait for perceptions of others to help formulate my opinion regarding who I am and what I should do. I don’t wait for media bias to help instruct me on my life, where I should travel, places I should avoid, people I should be fearful of.
I am a humanitarian, I am a philanthropist, I am a knowledge seeker. My actions set the stage around me, and expanding thoughts develop from my actions. I learn from my actions. Experiential learning, learning from experiences help shape who we are, and who we are destined to become.
If I waited for someone to “empower” me to produce ‘Emerging Face Of Pakistan’, no doubt I would be waiting years for the opportunity to unveil itself! Instead, I chose to take a risk and show people by my actions, not simply my words, what I intend to do.
As my mother used to say, “Actions speak louder than words.”
‘Women’s Empowerment’ suggests women are weak and need to be given power by others. That they are dependent on others to give them this empowerment.Women must be interested in taking the initiative, to empower themselves. And when required, those of us who are stronger can help uplift those in need. Women’s Empowerment should not be a ‘crutch’. Like a weak muscle, this mindset needs to be worked, stretched and challenged in order for it to grow stronger.
There is an irony in the words ‘Women’s Empowerment’… women don’t need others to help make them stronger. We don’t need to become dependent on a crutch. We are strong, we are empowered. It’s time for us to remember who we are, as doers, as thinkers and world leaders.