The journey of women’s empowerment spans centuries, marked by a gradual evolution from historical marginalization to the pursuit of basic rights and opportunities. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the suffragette movement emerged as a pivotal force, securing women’s right to vote in many countries and signifying a significant milestone in the ongoing journey toward empowerment.
A crucial aspect of this journey involves challenging societal attitudes and cultural norms that have historically confined women to specific roles. Advocacy for equality in education, work, and politics has been a driving force behind transformative change. However, despite significant progress, challenges endure, encompassing issues such as gender-based violence, unequal pay, and underrepresentation in leadership roles. These persistent challenges underscore the need for ongoing efforts to address them and propel the cause of women’s empowerment forward.
In the face of numerous obstacles, many remarkable women have not only navigated these challenges but have also shattered stereotypes and proven that gender should not serve as a limiting factor in achieving success. Their stories serve as powerful inspirations, demonstrating resilience and determination. By sharing their experiences, these trailblazing women contribute to a narrative that empowers others to break through societal barriers, encouraging them to pursue their dreams without constraints.
Photo Credited to: Beate Nimsky
Beate Nimsky, CEO and founder of Nimsky GmbH. and founder of Nimsky Academy believes, the discussion centered on the difficulty many women face when trying to voice their needs and wants. Beate shared her perspective, echoing the sentiment that women often seek open communication and a space to exchange ideas with their partners. However, a common stumbling block arises when men quickly jump to providing solutions, leaving the emotional aspects unacknowledged and causing women to withdraw. Beate emphasized that women frequently desire to express their innermost emotions, and when these needs go unmet, it hinders the flow of conversation. While women may be adept at articulating what they don’t want, expressing deeper emotional needs can pose a challenge.
Upon personal experiences, prompting Beate to share a story about a time when she felt unable to speak up. Beate recounted a pivotal moment when a close friend pointed out her reluctance to ask questions. “It wasn’t until a close friend of mine pointed out something crucial one day that I had an epiphany. He said to me, “You don’t ask enough!” This statement served as a pivotal moment, revealing the key to unlocking my potential and encouraging me to be more expressive”, she shares.
She emphasized that women play a crucial role in generating fresh energy for unity and cultivating strength within themselves. This empowerment not only benefits women but also contributes to breaking free from outdated stereotypes and clichés, fostering a more equal and understanding society.
Photo Credited to: Anna Nowak and Alicia Berg
Women’s empowerment is a global issue, with progress varying across different regions and cultures. Cultural, economic, and political factors all influence the pace and nature of women’s empowerment initiatives.
Anna Nowak and Alicia Berg, the founders of Made Hot STHLM AB, emphasize the significant challenges women face in expressing their needs and desires. She attributes this difficulty to long-standing societal conditioning, where women are expected to be silent, non-confrontational, and not overly assertive. Factors such as cultural, religious, and societal influences, as well as upbringing, contribute to the suppression of women’s voices. Alicia points out that women often refrain from negotiating for themselves, feeling undervalued and hesitant to seek help due to the fear of appearing weak. The root cause, she suggests, lies in social conditioning that dictates women to be “likable” rather than assertive, leading to a lonely and challenging journey for women.
Anna shares a common experience of having her ideas appropriated by others, particularly in professional settings. She recounts instances in meetings, negotiations, and agreement discussions where her contributions were presented as someone else’s. Despite the frustration, Anna highlights the prevalence of such occurrences, making it a common and disconcerting phenomenon. The inability to confront the situation in the moment forces women like her to endure these instances silently, further underscoring the challenges women face in asserting themselves.
Reflecting on their journey, Anna and Alicia express that their transition from silence to strength wasn’t a gradual process but rather a reaction to having had enough. “Enough of being silenced, pushed around, bullied, diminished, and presented constantly as the weaker sex. You have to stand up for yourself, you have to react, you have to speak up, even when your voice and inside is trembling”. they says. The wisdom they gained is the importance of self-advocacy, urging women to react and speak up even when facing internal hesitation.
Photo Credited to: Patti Negri
Patti Negri, a psychic medium, “Good Witch,” podcaster, author, and TV host, highlighted the challenges many women face in voicing their needs and desires. According to her, societal expectations play a significant role, often pushing women to prioritize the needs of others over their own. Traditional gender roles, which expect women to be nurturing, can be limiting, especially when expressing bold or ambitious goals. “Women have often been encouraged to focus on taking care of others, which can make them put their own needs on the back burner”, she says. Patti also touched upon the cultural conditioning that discourages girls from causing a fuss, making it difficult for them to assert themselves, particularly in male-dominated spaces where their voices might be drowned out. The fear of being perceived as pushy or bossy can act as a deterrent, impacting women’s confidence in speaking up.
Drawing from personal experience, Patti recounted her time in Hollywood, where she faced challenges in speaking up against inappropriate situations on set. “As a performer, when I wanted to speak up about something inappropriate or uncomfortable on set, I was treated more like an “overly sensitive girl” than an intelligent, concerned human”, she shares. As a producer, she felt the need to work twice as hard as men to be heard and respected in the industry’s “old boys club” mentality.
Patti shared her journey from silence to strength, emphasizing a shift in perspective on fear. Viewing fear as a source of inspiration rather than a paralyzing force, she transformed her career and personal life. She encouraged individuals to embrace fear as a motivator, citing her own experiences on shows like WipeOut, Master Chef, and America’s Got Talent as examples of overcoming fear and achieving success. Patti advised others to follow their hearts, speak their truth, choose bravery, and fully commit to their pursuits.
Photo Credited to: Tristen Durkin
The journey of women’s empowerment continues as resilient women share their stories, inspiring others to break through the constraints of gender, fostering a narrative that transforms silence into strength and propelling the cause of women’s empowerment ever forward.
Tristen Durkin the founder of True Medical Aesthetic, shared valuable insights into the challenges women face when it comes to expressing their needs and wants. Tristen highlighted that societal and cultural norms, coupled with the fear of judgment and negative labeling, contribute to the difficulty many women experience in voicing their desires. She emphasized that despite some progress, there is still much work to be done in breaking the deeply rooted mold that hinders women from speaking up.
Sharing a personal story, Tristen recounted instances of unconscious biases she faced due to her name, which may be perceived as more masculine. “One time, in meeting a financial officer for the first time in person, who was interested in working with my business, the reaction to him walking into my clinic and asking for me twice by name, to me, I had to point it out. The issue of men receiving more immediate respect than women is complex and deeply rooted in societal norm, gender stereotypes, and power dynamics”, she shares. As a business owner, Tristen has actively addressed these biases by making it known when there might be confusion based on her name.
She acknowledged that strength can manifest both loudly and quietly, citing her own preference for a quiet yet persistent pursuit of her path and purpose. Tristen reflected on the growth and recognition of her business, True, and emphasized the importance of advocating for deeply held beliefs, such as empowering women to realize their unique powers and live authentically.
Photo Credited to: Kendra Davies
Many of us have been conditioned to believe that our value and the amount of confidence we are allowed to feel in ourselves is tied to how well others like us, and what they think about us. This has led many women to play small, in an effort to never be perceived as too much.
Kendra Davies, CEO of Stellar Life Coaching, Life Coach, and Positive Psychology Practitioner, highlighted the pervasive challenge many women face in voicing their needs and wants. Kendra explained that women are taught to adhere to societal rules that perpetuate the notion of playing nice and prioritizing the needs of others over their own. “This view will always put our wants and needs against those of others – and we know because we were taught so- good girls always play nice”, she says.
She shares a personal story, revealing that, as a people pleaser, she suppressed her own needs and wants in the pursuit of acceptance and love. She described herself as a chameleon, adapting to what she believed others wanted her to be. “I was pretty much willing to take whatever was being served for the first half of my life. I was a chameleon. I was whatever I thought people wanted or needed me to be”.
On her journey from silence to strength, Kendra emphasized a crucial realization: no amount of perfection could compel others to meet her needs. She recognized that by presenting a version of herself she thought others desired, she was receiving love for a representative, not her true self. The turning point came when she decided to embrace her authentic self, even if it meant risking disapproval. She learned to prioritize her authentic, imperfect self over the need for external validation. Today, when expressing her desires, setting boundaries, or stating her needs, she does so with the intention of fostering mutual love and respect. If a relationship cannot support this mutual growth and respect, it is not a healthy and sustainable one.
Photo Credited to: Penney Peirce
Transformation Expert Penney Peirce is proud of the progress made by women who fought for recognition, and emphasizes the diverse and multifaceted nature of women’s capabilities. While acknowledging the strides made, Peirce also points out the contemporary challenges with a resurgence of suppression of women’s rights.
Penney reflects on her journey as a professional intuitive. She faced criticism and belittlement from those who dismissed her work as “magical thinking” or being irrelevant in a pragmatic world.
She often felt silenced and unable to connect with others who held a more conventional mindset. Intuition was not valued then and she had to simplify her concepts for a broader audience, especially for those in business. She shared her insights using intuition to gauge the openness of her audience.
Penney shares wisdom gained from her journey from silence to strength. Despite initial challenges, she persevered, adapting to the changing energy on the planet and honing her ability to communicate higher concepts in practical ways. “My topics became timely. I trusted my intuition and the flow to put me in touch with the right people and opportunities. I trusted what came out of my mouth. I even watched as it became hip to say ‘counter-intuitive’ instead of illogical,” she says.
Penney emphasizes the need for women to break free from traditional roles and embrace leading-edge innovation, consciousness, and growth. She highlights women’s desire for excitement, collaboration, curiosity, and the freedom to fulfill their life purpose beyond restrictive stereotypes.
As the journey from silence to strength continues, Penney encourages each woman to contribute her unique perspective, so we can find the common threads of resilience and determination weaving through their stories. We are reminded that the journey is ongoing, marked by joyful self-expression and challenges alike. Women’s stories serve not only as beacons of hope but as catalysts for change, inspiring individuals to actively participate in creating a more mutually supportive and equitable world.