#Opinion

You Are Right: How These Words Play An Important Role In Empowering Women

skill vs talent, Sridevi Sarees From English Vinglish
One of the best ways to empower women is to tell them they are right. How people around her react to her views, plays a great role in what a woman thinks about herself. So if you want a woman to be confident, be one of her cheerleaders when she is right, even if it is a non-issue, for you.

When people talk about empowerment, broader issues like education, employment and financial independence are often discussed in-depth, numerous women and girls in our society are yet to have access to basic rights. Women still have to fight patriarchal norms, gender-based stigmas to be able to study and fend for themselves, to not have to marry simply out of the need for financial stability. At the same time, there are smaller battles that need our attention too.

It is not enough to hand a woman all the tools that could help her create a better life for herself and further her sisterhood, we have to create an environment where she can use them freely without having to face resistance and negativity due to her gender. For instance, parents in India now encourage their daughters to study and pursue a job, but they also condition them to shoulder the household duties singlehandedly like a “good woman”. As a result of which women often struggle big time in order to strike a balance between work and life. When the going gets tougher, women give up on their career aspirations and choose harmony at home over financial independence. So the tool that was so painstakingly given to them by their parents, was it of any use in the long run?

Every time a woman speaks up during a conversation, or an argument, she rarely expects to be applauded or backed, especially by men around her.

This is where telling women they are right, or backing their views also fits in – as it creates an environment where women feel confident about their choices and beliefs. We have handed women microphones to tell their stories, to share their experiences, to offer solutions for problems they have, but then who is listening to them? And those who are listening do they approve of their views? Are their views amplified enough to reach the right channels, which could usher in bigger changes?

Be it in our drawing rooms, dinners with colleagues or on social media, for women, speaking up comes at a cost- you are either ridiculed or conveniently ignored. But when someone says it out loud that she is right, in her opinion on anything from petrol prices, to politics, to relationships, she finds the confidence to express herself more often. What’s more, it draws the attention of other listeners and can also help normalise the participation of women in discussions that are usually seen as a male domain.

So the next time you hear a woman make a statement that drives the point home, don’t just look sideways, say out loud and clear, “You are right.”

Views expressed are the author’s own.


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