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The era of the empowered woman

Women have continued to leave lasting legacies of inspiration and transformation. We have overcome societal gender platitudes, redefined our historical context and created an age that is progressively producing more and more high-achieving women.
Katie Mohamed
Katie Mohamed

But we often tend to conflate empowerment with financial success, influence, breaking the glass ceiling and overcoming the hurdles of a systemic patriarchal paradigm.

What about contentment? What about self-care? What about happiness?

Our identities are compromised by the expectation to hold up half the sky with arguably half the resources of our male counterparts. With such stretched resources, high-achieving women can so easily sacrifice simple and fundamental pleasures in the constant strive to be better, to win, to succeed!

It can be overwhelming. In our quest for perfection, we can sacrifice sleep, confidence, health and happiness. We want so badly to achieve this elusive sense of empowerment that we say “yes” to everything, desperately trying to evade the ubiquitous shadow of imposter syndrome.

Am I worthy? Am I enough? Am I a failure?

Our daily strive for personal empowerment comes with incredible mental challenges. Challenges that we often ignore. And challenges that we underestimate. We are sometimes too quick to belittle these challenges, because we feel acknowledgment of them is a weakness.

The era of the empowered woman

The path to women’s equality has been long and challenging - as it continues to be today. The gender pay gap remains prolific globally. What’s more disheartening is that when a woman does rise to a position of leadership and power, she is met with stereotypes and bias. She’s “bossy”. She’s “overly ambitious”. She’s “arrogant”.

These kinds of judgments make it even more difficult for woman to want to pursue positions of power and influence. Why strive for empowerment, when empowerment is just met with judgement? Not just from men, but from other women as well.

There is an inextricable stress that comes with being a high-achiever, and even more so as woman. So, how do we restore our identity? How do we learn to grow and contribute to our higher purpose? How do we seek to live our best life?

We can start with setting boundaries. We can start by saying “no”. No one can do everything, nor should they be expected to. We need to take the time to re-evaluate and focus our goals. Setting boundaries doesn’t mean refusing to challenge yourself. It means allowing yourself to focus on what is most important to you. It clears the noise. It drowns the periphery. And it sharpens the senses.

Boundaries also put you in the driver’s seat. They are the first step to curating a secure and healthy sense of agency. Without control of your prerogatives, it’s easy to lose a sense of self, leading to the pursuit of success for the sake of success, rather than for consistent personal growth and meaningful empowerment.

Without agency, you risk your authenticity. How can you be your authentic self if you’re not even in control of your intentions?

Without authenticity, you jeopardise your potential for connection. You sabotage your ability to form closer friendships, connections and networks.

And withoutconnection, you isolate yourself. And your hyper-busy, mentally challenging and exhausting quest for success would have been for nothing.

Empowered women create empowered societies, but empowerment can only flourish within a well-intentioned life - one of significance, meaning and purpose. So let us start by focussing on fostering a life well-lived. Let us focus on bringing value to ourselves and others. Let us be seen, let us be heard, and let us be supported.

About Katie Mohamed

Katie Mohamed is CEO and founder of W-Suite.
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