By Shehara Alahakoon
‘Empower’, a word which carries a great weightage.
We always talk about empowering women, especially at workplaces. My short experience of the past 7 years in the corporate world has made me realize, again and again, that empowering is not merely supporting a woman to rise up the career ladder. Yes, of course it is a part of empowering women but my two cents based on what I have experienced, seen and heard – is a little bit different.
This International Women’s Day, I #choosetochallenge.
I believe that, if one cannot (for not so obvious reasons) support a woman to achieve her career aspirations or appreciate the accomplishments she has made in life, one should at least try not to be discouraging. There – you have empowered a woman by not being the one to drag her down!
We all have busy schedules at work and then family / personal commitments at home. Sometimes one does not even have the time to check up on our colleague on how she is doing on a major work assignment or whether she needs any kind of support. However, one would have the time to go online to make a hate comment on some random celebrity’s fashion statement. If only that person had used that 30 seconds of his / her precious time to drop a text to the colleague to check up on, this world would have been a better place! One less hate comment on a woman is definitely one way of empowering women, all over the world.
Judging another person is easy, some believe that it is a great mode of avoiding and concentrating on one’s own weaknesses. However, it does not give one the responsibility to sit at one’s work desk to judge all the women at work! How they dress, how they speak, the status of their personal relationships, the work assignments they fail on – these are not to be judged by one another. Not stabbing a woman on the back with a judgmental knife is one major way of empowering a woman.
“Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people,” said Socrates. Do we waste our precious time speaking ill about others? Have we ever pondered on how our assumptions of a woman would affect her? Let’s not be a part of degrading a woman and eventually affecting her mental stability. If one cannot lift up a woman, at least do not demean her. Yes, you guessed right – it does empower a woman if one thinks twice about the absolute necessity of talking about her behind her back.
We all play a small part in making or breaking our colleagues. Today would be the ideal day to grab that mug of coffee to sit back and relax and ponder on what kind of a person you are to your fellow female colleagues.
Let’s redefine the concept of empowering women and that responsibility falls on each one of us.
Let’s take a leap and make a splash to #choosetochallenge to be a person who empowers women in many different ways, including not being the one to kick away the ladder.