Empowering Women part 3: Paving the Future for the Brave
Empowering Women p3: Paving the Future for Ourselves and our Daughters.
Sometimes it takes getting a little angry to make a change. I hope you feel angered, inspired, charged up, empowered and driven by my last two articles that showcased where women are at now and where we have been. The ladies of yesterday set a high standard with their will to survive. Now that we are surviving, are we getting complacent? As I said in my first article, 80% of ten year old girls are worried about being too “fat”- is this worth their focused thoughts? While we need to ensure our children are healthy, the resulting mere 2% of women who feel beautiful are not highlighting a weight issue- we are highlighting a whole-woman issue.
My last article spoke to the women warriors who paved our path but we need to earn our flight miles ourselves, ladies! Let’s change our statistics by willfully representing ourselves- fierce, feisty, fashionable and focused! Let’s take a look at the future of our gorgeous gender by considering STEM careers, politics and supporting each other with our natural gifts- all topics that help us round out our pathway for the Brave New Woman- feminism 2.014.
Outlook on the future: First of all, I was shocked to find it super hard to find any forecastable stats about our gender- maybe that means no one knows what we are capable of and are afraid to speak it into existence! It is safe to say if we do nothing, our future gets worse since our female population is steadily growing and “If you do not change direction, you end up where you are heading” (Lao Tzu).
STEM degrees and positions: “If we’re going to out-innovate and out-educate the rest of the world, we’ve got to open doors for everyone. We need all hands on deck, and that means clearing hurdles for women and girls as they navigate careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.” (Michelle Obama, 2011). Today, women represent only 24% of the STEM workforce in the US. Women are high achievers, academic leaders and interested in how the world works- maybe we just did not “see” it as much of an option before. Time to challenge our own thinking, ladies. Additionally, it has been estimated that there is a 33% earnings boost for women in STEM jobs, compared to non-stem jobs (stemchicks.com). Remember how we make 80 cents to every masculine dollar? Let’s all become marine biologists (like we always dreamed of doing) and recalculate that figure, shall we?
Support Each Other: In my last article, I highlighted some of our natural gifts: beauty, courage, moxy, competitiveness, patience, compassion and intelligence. We need to leverage these skills as a community to build a better tomorrow for our youngest pea pods. I dream of living on a commune and while that may not be a practical solution, the principal of helping each other out and highlighting each other’s natural skills applies. Other careers that support these beautiful gifts are small businesses, teaching, healthcare, non-profits and forward-thinking companies. Learn how to fund your own start-up through these organizations: womanowned.com and womenstartuplab.com, or learn about grants for passing your first million- because you will, at makemineamillion.org.
Forbes magazine (2014) hammers this point even further in their interview with author John Gerzema who said, “The only way to succeed when everyone knows your business is to act in an empathetic, patient, humane, and scrupulously ethical way. Given that people the world over believe these qualities are “female” in a traditional sense, we use “like women” as a shorthand for what can be universal traits”. To translate, use what your momma gave you, ladies, before our counterparts start to see it as adaptable traits and steal our thunder. It’s about time we rally that thunder, my friends.
Vote! But more than that, know it makes a difference. According to a 2008 statistic, only 19.8% of first year college women felt it was very important or essential that they influence the political structure (US Dept. of Commerce). Thankfully over 50% of women showed up to the polls in the 2008 election, but why do we feel helpless to influence politics?
To prove us all wrong, the “White House launched the Equal Futures App Challenge to spur the creation of apps that inspire girls to become leaders in our democracy.” (whitehouse.gov). The app helps girls learn about government, see where women political leaders reside and learn about powerful women in other industries.
To recap our plan: We need to love ourselves, help our daughters believe in themselves and know they can excel in STEM studies, vote and know it matters, and lean on one another to create a whole woman community that sees far beyond today, into the tomorrow where our thunder really shakes things up. Oh yeah, and tell your mother, sister, daughter, self, friend and stranger next to you how beautiful she is. 2% should represent milk, not self-esteem.
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