On the pathway to self-empowerment, women experience a lot of setbacks and challenges. Historically, women have experienced disenfranchisement, discrimination, and more, making it difficult for them to experience empowerment in the world as independent beings.
Women’s empowerment means different things to different people. However, a part of that empowerment is based on the belief that women are entitled to the same rights and opportunities as men. This is because they remain a marginalised population in many world regions. Women do not have the same opportunities in terms of education, salary, or other advantages as males.
Though society has made some strides to create an equal world for women and men, many challenges women face still make it difficult for them to experience self-empowerment.
Challenge 1: Women aren’t always well-represented in places where significant decisions are being made.
According to the World Economic Forum, as of March 2022, roughly 15% of America’s largest public businesses were female-led. While the WEF reports this statistic as a “new all-time high,” a mere 15% of these major companies have female leadership reflects women’s inclusion and involvement in places where large-scale decision-making and leadership is happening. Often, women aren’t well-represented in places where major decisions are being made.
Challenge 2: Women are often saddled with various responsibilities and expectations that can be difficult to balance.
We live in a society where women are experiencing things their grandmothers and great-grandmothers likely would have never imagined possible for them. They enter career fields historically dominated by men, earning many certifications and college degrees, and more.
However, even as women break through these barriers and make great strides, they are often saddled with other traditional expectations and responsibilities. For example, working mothers must find a balance between being a go-getter in the workplace while still making plenty of time to be an attentive and present parent.
Finding ways to balance all the expectations placed on women can be challenging for them. It’s tough for women to experience self-empowerment when pulled in many different directions.
Challenge 3: Some women experience discrimination and disenfranchisement on multiple levels, including racism or poor socioeconomic status.
Some women experience discrimination and disenfranchisement on multiple levels. Being female is the tip of the iceberg for some women.
For women also experiencing racism and lower socioeconomic status, for example, the discrimination and lack of opportunity can feel even more challenging to navigate. Having multiple factors working against them can make it extremely difficult to feel self-empowered.
Challenge 4: Women face stereotyping and societal expectations that make chasing after their goals and dreams difficult.
Traditionally, women are viewed as nurturers and caregivers. Many still see women as loving mothers and homemakers who want to keep their families organised and in good shape. While this is certainly not a bad goal for the women who want it, this kind of stereotype can make it difficult for them to chase after independent goals and dreams.
These stereotypes often tie women’s interests directly to the needs of others. When a woman envisions herself going after something else she wants in life, other people may not understand why she’d want that for herself instead of something seen as more socially acceptable, such as having children. This can make it difficult for some women to feel self-empowered.
Challenge 5: Women aren’t always given a voice in their own healthcare decisions.
In a society where lawmakers try to pass laws dictating what women can and cannot do with their bodies, it isn’t unusual for women to have difficulty voicing their concerns and making their own healthcare decisions.
For example, women are more susceptible to death by heart attacks than men because the symptoms for women aren’t always the same as they are for men. Because some of the symptoms are less obvious, their doctors don’t always pick up on their complaints in time to solve the problem.
Challenge 6: Women experience the effects of the gender pay gap.
According to a study completed by Payscale in their 2022 Gender Pay Gap Report, women currently earn an average of .82 cents for every dollar men earn.
While the pay gap has started to close over the years, it’s still not at a perfect, equal dollar-to-dollar comparison. This is caused by various reasons, such as some fields dominated by women versus men, issues from the pandemic, and more.
Challenge 7: Women lack adequate support.
A lack of a proper support system could cause struggles or failure. Women suffer the most difficulties in obtaining assistance, whether it is due to a lack of suitable connections, a need for financial assistance, or emotional support. Societal stereotypes can interfere with a woman being supported to be driven, ambitious and successful, as a man might be.
They’ll need mentors and sponsors to help them get started on their new road. The support structure is frequently too expensive, causing women to postpone beginning.
Challenge 8: The Bitch Syndrome
Some people think that if a woman is intense, tough, opinionated, passionate in her career, ambitious or outspoken, then she is a bitch. Funny that men who can be described in the same ways are touted as successful go-getters.
In this case, I think it’s best to adopt Madonna’s motto: “I’m tough, ambitious, and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, okay.”
Female empowerment can be achieved in various ways, one of which is by giving them the needed tools. An empowered lady exudes confidence since she is no longer under someone’s control. She is the one who will determine the course of her life.