A note from Behere CEO, Meesen Brown.
We see these words all the time. But what do they really mean?
They are strewn across websites, utilized in brand messaging and shared on social media. Becoming overused and losing their validity. With people and brands worldwide claiming to empower women, I wanted to shed more light on what these words really mean.
What does ‘empower’ mean?
According to Merriam-Webster to empower means:
- to give official authority or legal power to
- to enable
- to promote the self-actualization or influence of
It continues, with a quote from novelist Ron Hansen, “Women’s movement has been inspiring and empowering women.”
Merriam-Webster also noted that empower is in the top 20% of words, meaning — it’s popular. This all coming from a dictionary that originated in 1828 and named ‘feminism’ a word of the year for 2017.
Knowing the dictionary definition is helpful but to truly better understand women’s empowerment, we need to see the action behind it and meaning to others. So I began to discuss this with people I knew that ‘empower women’, asking:
What does it mean to you to empower women?
How are you empowering women through what you do?
Their responses prompted me to continue the discussion and resulted in me starting a series of posts with the responses. With the Women’s March around the corner, it seems all too fitting a time to begin it. Through the series I hope to bring more discussion, meaning, and action to these terms.
While having these discussions, I took a closer look at what it means to me, to empower women and how I am doing this:
What does it mean to me empower women?
Female empowerment, I find, is often said, seldom explained. The initial discussions and ideation of this series came from seeing the word empowerment utilized in the messaging of a product I was unsure would actually do that. So to me, to empower women means to provide them opportunities and to help them gain more independence and control of their lives. To provide opportunities that help them grow, develop, gain power and share their opinions. To rid them of fear, to give them control and to help them create. To empower women is to do this, not just through our words, but through our actions.
How do I empower women through what I do?
I started Behere, with a goal to empower and inspire more women to step outside their comfort zones and create lifestyles they love. To grow, to learn and to experience new things. I wanted to help women feel comfortable in new surroundings and feel confident to explore new places. I wanted women to have opportunities, and to not feel they had to choose between being stuck in a male-dominated workplace and having the freedom to design their own lives. I wanted to help women embrace flexibility and I wanted to help shape the future of work. That’s why, at Behere, we’re working to empower women to embrace flexibility and create lifestyles that better meet their needs and wants.”
– Meesen Brown
Over the course of the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing a series of posts about what it means to ‘empower women’, to people around the world. They’ve shared how they empower women through what they do and helped to highlight the action behind these words.
If you’d like to contribute to the series, please fill out this form. Together, we can better define these words and help create more action for women around the world.
Originally shared here.