March is here and almost over, but the end of Women’s History Month doesn’t mark the end of women’s empowerment and appreciation. Through the hustle and bustle of everyday life, sometimes how much you appreciate someone or something can tend to lean out of focus.
Women have always held influential and powerful positions in political affairs, movements, and many other important markers in history.
There are many different ways you can show appreciation for the women in your life or spread empowerment from one woman to another in your life during this month and even when it ends. One example can be empowerment through acknowledgment.
Many women face the daily obstacle of proving their worth despite adequate qualifications when compared to their male counterparts. This number rises when other factors such as race or religion are also considered.
According to Women in the Workplace, 43% of women leaders are burned out, compared to only 31% of men at their level. Women in the Workplace is an organization that promotes and researches the hardships of women in the workplace. It was created to acknowledge disparities women face in workspaces such as burnout, sexual assault, pay gaps, and issues in the workforce.
A simple act of kindness can be acknowledging a woman in your life who is extraordinary in what they do. For example, Dean Ethel Scurlock, Alysia Steele, and Dr. Ellie Moore are phenomenal women who walk the campus of Ole Miss and strive to help anyone in any way they can. Even though things may not be done for validation or acknowledgment, it can feel nice to know that someone notices how much effort, time, and dedication one puts into something.
Another way to show appreciation towards a woman in your life is by giving support to an independent woman. We all know at least one superwoman who’s capable of anything thrown their way.
Licensed professional counselor and a professor at George Mason University, Dr. Joanne Frederick, defines hyper-independence in three ways. It can be a woman who takes on too much, says no to help, or has problems with delegating tasks.
Hyper- independence is a trauma response that can lead to burnout, emotional bankruptcy, and physical exhaustion. It is very prominent among African-American women. Something as simple as acknowledging someone’s efforts and taking simple tasks off of their plate can help tremendously.
Empower women simply through listening. Many decisions are made about women without the voice of a woman being present. Make an effort to understand a woman that is present in your life.
I often have conversations with men in my life such as my father or close friends who ask genuine questions about what it is like being a woman to get a better understanding of things we face on a daily basis.
As women, there are efforts we can make to promote growth, reliance, and empowerment of each other.
Mentorship is a wonderful way to promote community and give insight to women who are in need of a friend, a mentor, or a light in the midst of their life. Mentorship is helpful at any age of life whether it’s at the elementary school lunch table, in algebra class in junior high, through high school drama, college or throughout the ebbs and flows of adult life.
As a woman, there are so many areas of life that can require guidance such as choosing a major in preparation for college, workplace attire for your first job, or simple advice.
Another form of empowering another woman can be through learning about strong women from history and using their legacy as a light to pave your own path.
It is easy to become lost in the rhythm of everyday life. Fighting battles that stem from gender can sometimes be overwhelming and tiring. You find yourself fighting a battle that has been alive for years and some individuals may feel as though they are taking more losses than wins.
The uplifting of powerful women from the past and the acknowledgment of how far we have come can give people a sense of pride and motivation. Change can be slow but it doesn’t have to be. Women from the past brought us so far but it took every single one of them and not just a few. The learning of your past can better equip you to handle the problems of the present, especially since you don’t know where you’re going unless you know where you came from.
The month of March is a time to empower women but it isn’t the only time to empower women. We have come far as women and as a society but we still have further to go.
Bre’Anna Coleman is a sophomore political science major from Drew, MS.