Aged 17, I was embolded by the Spice Girls message of Girl Power. I dyed my hair to look like Geri Harriwell, decided I wasn’t going to be told what to do by anyone (especially boys!) and, like my girlfriends at the time, paraded around oozing confidence and feeling like the world was mine to conquer. I wasn’t alone. The Spice Girls shaped a cultural shift towards female empowerment and equality. We didn’t label it at the time but we feeling ’empowered’ – a word arguable overused today but undeniably elusive for many now 40 something year old women that at one time felt like we could rule the world. So what happened to us and how can we get that feeling back?
What is female empowerment and how can we step back into feeling it?
Think of the Spice Girls and you’ll be describing empowered women. They excude confidence, resilience and empathy. They advocate for gender equality and inspire positive change. But how does this translate to those of us who are not aging popstars and yet acknowledge that our leadership within the workplace could do with a boost of what our younger selves experienced? ‘Empowerment’ starts from within and is a feeling:
- Having control and power over your life
- Supported in ways that suit you
- Respected in your community
- Able to empower others
Why is it important for female leaders to feel empowered?
- Representation matters: when women see other women in leadership roles it send a powerful message that gender does not limit their potential. This representation helps challenge stereotypes and encourages more women to aspire to leadership positions.
- Diverse perspectives: Women bring unique perspectives and experiences to leadership roles. Empowering female leaders ensures that a broader range of ideas and viewpoints are considered, leading to more innovative solutions and better decision making.
- Inclusivity: Empowered female leaders often advocate for diversity and inclusivity within their organisation. They create environments where individuals from diverse backgrounds feel valued and included.
- Role models: Female leaders who feel empowered serve as role models for others, especially young girls and women. This demonstrate that women can excel in any field and inspire the next generation of leaders.
- Economic impact: Empowering female leaders contributes to economic growth. Research shows that companies with more women in leadership positions tend to be more profitable and innovative, showcasing the tangible benefits of gender diversity.
6 ways to help you feel empowered
1. Build self-confidence: acknowledge and celebrate your achievements and capabilities. Look at all you have accomplished in the last hour / day / week / year / lifetime, all of the challenges you have overcome. What is it about you that enabled you to do this? What makes you unique? What are your strengths? Collate all of the positive feedback you have received and keep in a file to remind yourself.
2. Mentorship and networking: Seek out people who inspire you to guide and support you. Don’t be scared of reaching out to like-minded individuals who’s values, purpose and impact you admire.
3. Clarity of purpose: understanding your values (what’s important to you) provides you with a clear sense of purpose and direction. You’ll feel like you have more control over your life and greater confidence in your decision making. You can download my free values finder tool here.
4. Vision: knowing who you are and what type of leader you want to be will motivate and inspire you and help you feel more authentic and aligned with your sense of purpose. When you have a compelling vision that excites and resonates with you, it fuels your passion and drives you to lead effectively. What type of leader do you want to be? What’s the impact you want to have? How do you want others to feel as part of your team? What leadership qualities do you admire in others?
5. Goal setting: Goals that are aligned with your vision and values give you clarity and help you stay focused. When you have a clear direction and a reason why, you’ll feel more motivated and in control of your decision making and action plan.
6. Invest in yourself: Continuous self-investment fosters personal growth and development. It encourages you to explore new experiences, learn from challenges, and adapt to change, all of which contribute to a sense of empowerment. Working with a coach will help you build self-awareness and provide you with personalised support to unlock your full potential and achieve your goals.
Working in a leadership role without a positive mindset and external support to help you feel empowered can leave you feeling isolated, frustrated, insecure, exhausted and anxious… You are not alone – the struggles faced by women in leadership roles can evoke a range of emotions and feelings. It is important that you acknowledge that the problem isn’t you. You’re not broken and you don’t need fixing. Working on strengthening your resilience and building a positive mindset will help you to feel more authentic, aligned and happier in yourself and your role.
I work with female leaders, supporting them to feel more confident, purposeful and secure within themselves. My coaching will help you master your mindset, take control of your life and create the success and freedom you’ve been dreaming of. My website is www.wearelimitless.me and you can contact me via my profile page or at firstname.lastname@example.org
October 1, 2023