Evening ladies and gentlemen, it is a somber day as individuals all around our nation are grieving over the outcome of the election – an outcome majority of us did not see coming and still cannot fathom as real.
As a woman, I am deeply saddened – not just because Hillary lost the election, but because of what Hillary losing the election stands for. I won’t say much more though; I have a series dedicated to how the outcome of this elections impacts and makes our women, our LGBTQ+ community and our minorities feel scheduled to be released at the beginning of next week
This first series however is dedicated to women empowerment.
I asked a couple bad ass women who inspire me to write a short blurb about what women empowerment means to them and to share a personal experience; each woman delivered a brilliant piece and I am beyond grateful for their participation. The series will be released in a two to three part series and I will add my contribution at the close of the final piece.
Let’s begin shall we? The first part of the series has three contributors.
One of my favorite quotes, where I draw an immense amount of strength and courage to get through the ins and outs of my everyday life is as follows:
To me, the quote holds grave importance on its own; not only as a woman or a minority, but as an immigrant. Even though I am well educated, I do not have the right to vote. I am constantly told by society that that does not matter, that economically and statistically I am unimportant.
I am a woman who is a part of a family, where she is looked to for guidance about household decisions. I am a woman who goes to school full time, works full time and pays her own damn bills. I am a woman who has helped raise a boy who knows to think twice about being disrespectful towards women because he knows the journey I have had to take. I am a woman who has dealt with the unwanted sexual advances, cat calling and blatant disrespect from men.
I am an individual who has a taught a number of people to stay equipped and prepared in case of an emergency; an individual who volunteers in her free time to help other immigrants take the proper steps to attain citizenship. I am a member of the community who volunteers on emergency house calls to assist families who do not know what to do next or how to cope.
I am somebody’s daughter and sister; I am a coworker and student. And not once have I been alone. Throughout my life, I have had the privilege to met bad ass women who do not settle for less than they deserve– they are truly forces to be reckoned with. These women have been my mentors and have taught and respected me regardless of gender, class and economic status.
I am little, I am female and I have a say in what I am allowed to do with my body. I will not succumb to fear. I will be my authentic self and support my fellow women as they have supported me. Be fierce ladies and be true.” –E. del Real
“Female empowerment is being who you truly are meant to be. As simplistic as that answer may seem, it’s more difficult to achieve for some people. This has been a way of life for me since childhood. I never cared what men or women thought about my way of life, my fashion choices or even the way I carried myself. Gender fluidity was nonexistent in my vocabulary but I experimented in wearing androgynous looks at a young age and broke the barrier on what gender role was defined for me. I’m a cis gender woman but having a pixie cut back in the day and wearing bow ties all the time didn’t define my sexual orientation or chosen gender role. The rise on the feminist movement has exploded in recent years, and I’m happy that more women are realizing how empowering it is to take a stance, see value in themselves, and do everything to support each other. This is nothing new to me though, the patriarchal society never stopped me from pushing to be on the top, never intimidated me from breaking the rules. I’ve been empowered my entire life but only because that’s my personality and even as a little girl I managed to build my own opinions on the world and took the guidance from adults with a grain of salt. We live in an evolving world and today many Americans will be voting for the first women president. We only get to this point because we’ve chosen to rise and be ourselves. It’s a lot of dedication and hard work but the end results are worthy of the fight. So as simple as my pursuit of female empowerment might be, the journey to finding yourself and finding your strength to just being yourself is uphill battle but it’s a rewarding thing. Being an empowered female means a lot of things to different women and that’s the beauty of empowerment, we all build a stronger sense of self from our own experiences.” –V. Acosta
“It’s 2 am and I’m 6 hours into a 12 hour shift. I don’t sleep for fear of missing crisis calls or not hearing the security alarm go off. I work at a domestic violence shelter, and for these 12 hours, I am the only support system these women have. I can’t save these women, or protect them, I can simply empower them with the truths that they were deprived of- that they are worthy, they are strong, and they are capable of achieving whatever they set their mind to. Female empowerment is a beautiful yet tragic thing. It is beautiful in the sense that it transcends to women of all walks of life, not just victims and survivors, and unifies communities to achieve a strong quality of life. The tragic side of female empowerment is the mere fact that it’s even needed to begin with. We live in a world with cultural and societal norms that oppress women, and the second we are empowered enough to break free, we are seen as nasty women.
At 23 years of age it is a very humbling experience to have the lives of many adult women influenced by what I say. They come to me expecting me to know all the answers because of my expensive degree and job title, but what I show them is something not learned in the classroom, nor does it stay in the shelter- it’s respect. If you ask me if I’ve ever been disrespected, the answer is yes. I am disrespected when I don’t get paid as much as a man. I am disrespected when a rapist gets a 3 month sentence. I am disrespected when I am told what I can and cannot do with my body. It is because of this that my work doesn’t stop when I leave the shelter. We are all women who need empowerment. We need to surround ourselves with individuals who see us as equals and inspire us. If you ask me why I believe these things, it’s not simply because I’m a feminist, it is because I am a human being and we are all entitled to our basic human rights.” – Y. Piedra
Keep on keepin’ on!