Mother Earth. Mother Nature. Mother Land. Mother Tongue. All that nurtures and sustains our very existence as well as communication is referred to as ‘Mother” because as a human society, deep down at the core of our souls, we know that feminine power is undisputable. Female power is necessary for shaping all that is around us.
||As a Hindu child, I was raised to believe that being a woman is powerful and comes with great responsibility. Responsibility to nurture and support a family. Be the energy and vitality that anchors both home and society. For Hindus, God is part male and part female where the female aspect of God is called “Shakthi”, translated in English to mean Energy. Therefore, the strength of a woman is expected. The energy and strength of a woman brings each of us into this world. Without women, there is no life and most species will become extinct, including humans. Given this undisputable fact, I continue to contemplate why women’s rights and women’s empowerment is something we have to take on as a cause? Why is it looked upon differently than a Man’s given right?
|I had the added advantage of being born and raised in Sri Lanka, a nation that gave to the world its very first female head of state from a modern democracy, Sirimavo Bandaranaake, in 1960. Women were heads of households and women can be heads of states was my childhood reality. However, as I grew older and travelled the world, I began to realize that was not the case everywhere. I began to realize there were those who were into empowering everyone including women and then there were those who controlled everyone including women.
That meant, I as a girl growing into a young woman, needed to learn how not to give over control of my very being and take charge of my journey in life. A gift of life given to me by my God, who embodies the female energy, cannot be surrendered to insecure human beings who saw their path to success as controlling others. Instead, I needed to seek the mentorship and support of enlightened human beings to help me fully reach my full potential.
Being an empowered woman means owning one’s journey and empowering others, both men and women, along life’s journey. It is not about looking at anyone as the enemy but treating everyone as fellow travelers with a shared purpose of leaving this place, any place, better than we found it. Empowered women ennoble others. They bring out the noble qualities in everyone they touch. Empowered women shape their path by continually transforming themselves and those around them.
|Growing up in South Asia, it was engrained as part of our basic education that serving others in our free time is not optional or resume building but duty to society. We were taught that our civic duty is what earned us rights in a democracy for self-determination. This meant, I had the opportunity to engage in educating and empowering women as the pathway to empowering families and communities.
Basic literacy, finical literacy and other means of empowerment were activities I had the honor of participating in. I must admit, those activities prepared me more for life than anything else because it gave me the opportunity to learn empathy, walk a mile in another person’s shoes and partner with them to strategize a better future. I found my humanity and calling in that process.
With a young Dodderi Village girl during University Vacation where I spent the summer building a school and teching. Dodderi village is located in the State of Karnataka, India.
The true wealth of a society is not measured in currency or material assets, but in how the women of that society are treated. Be it education, healthcare, career choices, or life choices, when women are not free to make their own choices, the underlying society is not free and it is not truly capable of realizing its collective potential. Should women get equal pay? Should women have the right to make their own choices with regards to their own bodies? Should women be punished when their bodies were violated? Should women’s reproductive health matter? Could women pursue any career they want without hazing or retribution? If these questions are asked in a society, it is an indication of that society not yet being free in the factual sense of the word.
Supporting women, empowering women and celebrating women is not solely dependent on the men in a society. Good and strong men already do this because they know that they need a strong woman by their side to face their own challenges. Alongside these good men, we women should stand shoulder-to-shoulder and pull each other up. We can never forget that we hold our destinies in the palm of our own hands. This week, my guest will be Traci Campbell, the Founder of BIBO, an organization focused on recognizing empowered women, celebrating their positive social impact and laying the foundation for a collaborative effort to magnify the goodness to make it contagious. Please join me on the show and call in with questions. This is our world and it is our lives that we are transforming. Let’s get engaged!