Women Making Moves | Rachel Ettinger of HereForHer

Over the next few months we’re going to be sharing a series of posts about what it means to ‘empower women’, to people around the world. Inspiring women from around the globe shared how they empower women through what they do and the action behind these words.
This week we’re sharing Here for Her founder, Rachel Ettinger’s story. She shares her thoughts on the meaning of female empowerment and how she’s helping women change the stigma around feminine health.

What does it mean to you to empower women?

“This is one of my favourite discussions. Many women, in many industries, easily throw out the term “female empowerment” but then the words are not put into action.

Empowering women means many things; such as giving them an outlet to voice their opinions, being listened to, being supported and basically giving women the tools that are needed to allow them to take control, to make change, to take a stand and therefore feel valued.”

How are you empowering women through what you do?

“With Here for Her
, I’m creating an environment where women feel comfortable speaking out and taking control of their health issues and that empowerment will hopefully lead them to feel more confident in other areas of their lives. I feel that empowering women means to provide an outlet for them to embrace themselves and to feel confident and valued.

The idea of Here for Her is to create open discussions about women’s health issues, such as periods, birth control, sex, body image, eating disorders, fertility, pregnancy & other vagina-related issues! Women can open up comfortably about their health, relate to others who identify as female, and educate themselves on women’s health issues as well. I’ve tried a billion different birth control pills (the struggle is real!) and because my family is in the healthcare profession, we discuss these topics quite often and it’s normal for us – but it’s not like that for everyone.”
empower women

“Women’s health issues are natural and should be discussed openly and there’s no need for us to PANIC when we drop a tampon on the way to the washroom (we’ve all done it!) OR how about the classic calling in sick to work when really you have the most HORRIBLE cramps and you can’t breathe.

Using my radio/tv platform I decided that it was the perfect time to talk openly about my own health issues in the hope that women will join together to discuss these issues in public and work to remove the stigma. Once we create awareness about periods and vaginas, THEN we can seriously create change, such as addressing the cost surrounding feminine hygiene products in general! Why aren’t these products free in public bathrooms, just like toilet paper?
Here for Her is not just about being proud of wearing your pink PERIOD sweater (which is super cool) but also about creating sustainable ways to improve health for women.”
Learn more about Rachel and Here for Her at shophereforher.ca
OR on IG @shophereforher & @rachettinger.
Learn more about how Behere helps women feel empowered while traveling here. Or get started below!

Improving The Way We 'Empower' Women

His words caught me off guard – I sat back in my chair, the pit in my stomach had left me speechless. I took a moment as I thought to myself, “How am I going to respond to this?”
We were discussing Adam’s* need for a new Board member, “Everything is so complicated now that there must be at least one woman on the Board,” he began, “it used to be much simpler when I could put a team together I knew and trusted.”
I was sure he didn’t understand the impact of his words at the time, but I think that is exactly the problem. Adam*, who always referred to himself as someone who ‘empowers women’, just proved he did not backup his words with action.
I remembered the countless times he told me I could be anything I wanted, and do anything I wanted – as long as I worked hard. It felt empowering! But in giving this more thought, when a woman is competing against ‘the ‘ol boys club’, sometimes even working your hardest is simply not enough. You still won’t be chosen because someone ‘wants to put a team together that they know and trust’ – meaning, they only want to hire within their ‘club’. How can anyone measure up?  

Now, put the shoe on a different foot for a moment. Say I am the woman looking to get the position on the Board and I get turned down because the hiring was simply an exercise amongst friends. Or worse, I get hired to join a team of men that only hired me because they were supposed to, and not because they wanted to. How do you think Adam* would feel if I told him about the situation I found myself in? And would that really be a healthy work environment?

Women find themselves in these situations every single day. There are ambitious women around the world that want to have an impact in senior leadership roles and Board positions but are faced with countless challenges. Challenges like; unequal pay, being skipped over for promotions, and being frequently spoken over. By overcoming these challenges, women are paving the way for younger generations to have a better chance at equality in the workplace. Unfortunately, women in senior leadership roles have only increased by 3% since 2011. At the current rate, women won’t reach parity with men until 2060. And that is simply unacceptable.

But back to Adam*…

If you were to ask him if he empowers women his answer would be – absolutely. However, I would argue his words don’t match his actions because every time he has chosen a ‘club member’ rather than considering qualified female candidates – he is doing the opposite of empowering. If he truly believes women can perform just as well in a role, then he would take the time to fairly evaluate their resumes and assess all the applicants.

I’ve realized that to ‘empower women’ isn’t just encouraging them with your words, it’s also having a voice for them, recommending them, and providing equal opportunity to them.

Thus, I gave Adam* a challenge; make a list of his three top candidates – compromised of the people he “knows and trusts” – then make another list of the three top candidates from the pile of female applicants. If after the exercise his original candidate is still the best choice then he can be 100% confident in his decision. However, if he finds a better fit, he will then have the opportunity to work with someone who brings more value, as well as a different perspective to the table. In fact, according to Harvard, promoting women in senior leadership roles and Board positions leads to improved performance across the organization.
This goes to show, people often say they ‘empower women’, but fail to show how they do. They forget that women need to be represented by both male and female leaders in the workplace, to receive the proper recognition they deserve.
To the men reading this:
I know each of you has at least one woman in your life that you admire, and that has the capability to change the world. I challenge you to raise her up: refer her to business associates, introduce her to new contacts, and help her navigate the many challenges she faces. Women need a voice in society and I know that in helping provide her with opportunities, you will help her fiercely dominate in everything that comes her way.
*Name changed to maintain confidentiality

Written By:
Nicole Lohka

Over the course of the next few weeks, Behere will 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.

Connect with Nicole on NicoleLohka@_nicolealexxis ] or here NicoleLohka.

Let's Discuss… Female Empowerment

A note from Behere CEO, Meesen Brown.

“Empowering Women
Female Empowerment
Women’s Empowerment

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:

  1. to give official authority or legal power to
  2. to enable
  3. 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.