Claiming women’s rights and female empowerment – What’s absolute honesty, responsibility and self-worth got to do with it?

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Claiming women’s rights and female empowerment – What’s absolute honesty, responsibility and self-worth got to do with it?

When it comes to women’s rights there is nothing like the facts to deliver some absolute honesty about the lesser state of women economically, socially and financially. It appears culturally entrenched that women are worth less than men and this pervasive self-worth issue and the lack of true female empowerment is not a woman’s problem, it is a shared responsibility for all of us to open our eyes and hearts to, starting with an honest look at some of the statistics of our present day diminished reality:

Women comprise roughly 47 per cent of all employees in Australia and take home on average $251.20 less than men each week (full-time adult ordinary earnings).

This national gender ‘pay gap’ is 15.3 per cent and it has remained stuck between 15 per cent and 19 per cent for the past two decades.

Additionally, on average, women spend 64 per cent of their working week performing unpaid care work – almost twice as many hours performing such work each week compared to men.

In 2015-2016 on average, Australian women were reaching retirement with $113,660 less superannuation than their male counterparts.

As a result, women are more likely to experience poverty in their retirement years and be far more reliant on the Age Pension.

More than one in three Australian women have experienced physical or sexual violence in their lifetime and one in two experience sexual harassment.

The Australian workforce is highly segregated by gender and female-dominated industries – such as aged care, childcare and health and community services – have been historically undervalued, underpaid and understaffed.

Australian women are over-represented as part-time workers in low-paid industries and in insecure work, and continue to be under-represented in leadership roles in the private and public sectors.[1]

These are the hard facts, as presented by the Australian Human Rights Commission and like many, I ask, how did we get here? How, as women, have we found ourselves in this position and how can we turn these statistics around?

Now as a woman, I could go into blame. I could blame society, patriarchy, role imbalance and men for our lack of women’s rights and female empowerment. But blaming wouldn’t help me, or women, or men, for blame is only a deflection and a delay from looking at what is truly going on. Blame doesn’t support me, or us, to find the true answer. For the true answer, without blame, lies with us.

Women are not who they should be. This is because they have become what they thought they had to be whilst denying who they truly are.

Esoteric Teachings & Revelations Volume I, ed 1, p 543

The answer to our statistically lesser state can be found if we reflect on our lives and the way we live them with absolute honesty. And it is from this absolute honesty that we will find we are beautiful, amazing, awesome women first, before we let the expectations, the comparisons, the pleasing, the ideals and the roles seep into the way we live our lives –– the ‘good’ daughter, the ‘good’ sister, ‘good’ friend, the perfect ‘wife’, the ‘perfect’ mother or ‘dutiful carer’. When we live our lives according to a set of expectations or roles, we live outside of ourselves, in a way that we feel we ‘should’ live. We lose that innate, warm and strong connection to the woman first that we truly are within our skin.

So, does this mean that we disconnect from our responsibilities in life; working, family, raising children and ‘search’ for this innate connection? No, absolutely not.

The key to this connection is our responsibility for our self-worth. When we claim ourselves, honour ourselves and care for ourselves, in a gentle and self-loving manner, our choices will change. And as our choices change, our standards for ourselves will change, our self-worth will change, our standards for women in society will change and both women and men will flourish together.

Women’s rights and true female empowerment aren’t about women alone. Whilst women are less, the whole of humanity is all-the-less for the absence of the qualities women in their fullness bring to all areas and arenas of life on this planet.

It is easy to mistreat, dismiss, disregard and ignore ourselves when we don’t truly see or know our own preciousness or feel to the bone how valuable, delicate, sensitive, priceless and powerful we are. Women are encouraged in our world to pay attention to everyone else first, but when that same attention doesn’t first begin with ourselves – when we stop nurturing and being attentive to ourselves – the emptiness sets in and with it comes drive, depression and dis-ease.

When we are empty we can easily start to do, accept and seek things we would not do in our fullness. Something funny and sad happens: we begin to try and fill the emptiness with masses of doing – looking right, doing right, saying right, achieving right – all to make ourselves feel alright and dispel the inner unease that something is missing. And it is.

We are missing ourselves and no relationship or level of perfection or achievement can deliver us back to the warmth and wisdom of us. Self-worth is our responsibility dear women. When we rely on it to come from the approval, permission and/or recognition of others outside of ourselves, we believe what we are told and the result of these beliefs is evident in the above statistics.

As the diplomat and former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt so beautifully and simply reminds us: “No One Can Make You Feel Inferior Without Your Consent”.[2] Let’s acknowledge the truth in our part behind the statistics: our own consent and compliance in agreeing to accept less for ourselves from ourselves first – less worth, trust, awareness, nurturing, attention, space, tenderness, regard, respect and love – and begin to correct it by living with self-worth as our most basic starting point.

So how do we do this? How do we build our self-worth and live true female empowerment? It will be different for everyone, but could it be honouring and caring for ourselves in a truly loving way, beginning with baby steps such as:

  • Saying ‘no’ to something, when our body is asking us to, rather than saying ‘yes’ because we feel we ‘should’
  • Recognising when we are being dismissed or undervalued and speaking up
  • Taking longer in the shower to nurture ourselves, if we feel to
  • Choosing our clothing according to how we feel, rather than how we look for others
  • Creating some space for ourselves in the morning or evening to support how we begin and/or end our day
  • Nourishing our bodies with foods that support us in our daily life, rather than making us feel tired, drained and bloated in our bodies?

60% Complete
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Connection to self through conscious presence

Connecting and listening to yourself and your body in every moment brings a perfect rhythm to everything you do.

As we begin to live these baby steps and build a foundation of true female empowerment, we turn women’s rights, these statistics and the world that creates them, around to the benefit of all. For it is only when we start to reflect on what choices we make ourselves and why, with absolute honesty, and take responsibility for ourselves and the state of our own self-worth, that we will collectively and amazingly be able to flourish.

When one is less, all are less.

References:

  • [1]

    Australian Human Rights Commission. Face the Facts: Gender Equality 2018. Education/Face the Facts 2018 [cited 2019 19/02/2019]; Available from: https://www.humanrights.gov.au/education/face-facts/face-facts-gender-equality-2018.

  • [2]

    Roosevelt, E. No One Can Make You Feel Inferior Without Your Consent. 2011 [cited 2019 19/02/2019]; Available from: https://quoteinvestigator.com/2011/03/30/not-inferior/.

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EmpowermentSelf-worthGender equalityResponsibility

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