When talking about women empowerment, we always think of something huge – sparking a revolution, starting a business, achieving something great. But what about the little things in life? The small things that make us feel like we have achieved something great. True empowerment is not really about the revolution, it is about the tiny steps every woman takes without any fear. It could be the fear of society, the fear of being alone, the fear of losing, or the fear of not being good enough. So, for Women’s Day 2023, the women of All About Eve are talking about the little moments, the everyday moments in their lives when they felt the most empowered.
It’s a common stereotype that women know nothing about money. It’s always the man who “runs” the house. The man could be your father, brother or husband. It doesn’t matter whether he has any knowledge of dealing with money, but by virtue of being a man, he is the one who has the power to make financial decisions. Sukhmani Waraich, AAE’s Head of Content & Strategy took it as a challenge to learn more about how to manage her money.
“One of the most empowering moments in my life was when I started saving and investing for my future, by myself. When the lockdown began and we started working from home, I enrolled in a finance course for beginners and understood how to divide my salary and existing savings into different instruments and really make my money work for me. Every month, when I update my beautiful little investment and savings sheet, the feeling of being able to fund my own life is exhilarating. It’s also the only time I don’t battle with MS Excel.”
Going out with friends to chill is not a concept a lot of Indian parents are comfortable with. So, ever since I was young, I have only gone out with my family. It was only when I reached college that I could finally go out with my friends. But in all these situations, I always had company to go everywhere, so I never really had to do anything alone. But when my friends didn’t want to go out one day and I did, I decided to make it a solo date. Walking into a restaurant all by my lonesome was a little intimidating and the judgemental stares from the restaurant staff didn’t help. But sitting in a restaurant alone, enjoying my favourite food was a huge step in self-sufficiency for me. That was the first step to enjoying my own company and learning to love myself and be at peace by myself.
Even if you go out on the roads today, there is a clear stereotype that’s associated with female drivers. People love to dismiss women as bad drivers, even when most road rage is caused by men.
For Social Media Manager Vrinda Kohli, learning to drive was a huge empowering moment. She says, “Ever since I was a kid, I have always seen my father or any male figure in my life driving the car and responsible for taking us everywhere. Without them, life used to come to a halt. App-based car services weren’t available back then, so the dependency on the male figures of the household was quite a lot. But ever since I started driving, it felt liberating not to be dependent on anybody when and if I needed to be going somewhere.”
Your first job is always a memorable experience. Fresh out of college, you enter the workforce and suddenly, you are earning your own money. When you go from asking your parents for allowance to taking your parents out for lunch or dinner using your own money, it is always an incredible moment.
For Features Writer Ravnoor Kaur, things weren’t all that different. “Getting a job right out of college and being able to look after my expenses was a turning point for me. Being financially independent to look after not just my needs but also be able to help out at home voluntarily is an experience that makes me feel empowered and liberated.”
No matter how much the world has progressed, parents are still hesitant to send their daughters to travel to a different city, let alone a different country, especially if she’s alone.
A couple of years ago, AAE’s resident graphic designer, Ishna Bisht, went to New York to study. And that became the turning point in her life. “I think when I went outside to study, I realised that I can figure a new country out by myself. From then onwards, if I ever had to travel to another state or country on my own, my parents had the utmost faith in me.”
While everyone should be standing up for themselves, not everyone has the courage to do it. Because society has taught women to be quiet and not vocalise any injustices that happen to them. But taking a stand for yourself is an act of real valour. Brand Communications & Marketing Manager Sanya Sharma too agrees with it. She feels the most empowered when she takes a stand for herself and the women around her.
“During a lot of instances, I’ve constantly been told to not do something solely because of the fact that I’m a woman. Whether it was taking a job in another city, where my boss would inappropriately text me, or simply going out wearing a dress and being stared at, I’ve always stood up for myself in those moments and for every other person who needed even a little support to fight their battle, no matter how small, be it a stranger, a friend, or even my mom.”
Sex and women in the same sentence are still taboo. People believe that only men can be open about sex and sexuality and that women need to stay quiet. After all, women aren’t supposed to want sex. So, a woman walking into a medical store and buying condoms is a recipe for unwanted stares and judgement.
Content Producer Khushboo Saluja has had her share of big and small empowering moments, but the one “small” moment that made a difference was, “the time I went out and bought condoms for the first time. This was back in college and I wasn’t even buying them for myself at the time. My friends at the hostel used to be sceptical, so I volunteered to take on the job for a friend whose partner was flying in late at night and hadn’t had the time to pick some up. I don’t understand why a task as simple as this is expected to only be carried out by men. Most women are expected to not take ownership of, or even acknowledge their sexuality and that’s a huge problem. So, the small act of going out to buy a condom was empowering for me.”
In India, children are supposed to stay with their parents forever. Moving out is seen as a sign of rebellion, more so in a single woman than in a man. But the independence that comes with living by yourself is a powerful feeling that everyone should experience at least once in their lives.
Executive Assistant Anushhka Samvedi says, “The most empowered I felt in my life was the day when I started living independently. I moved out of my house and left my hometown five years ago. Since then, I’ve faced numerous obstacles and overcome a lot more fears. I feel strong when I look back at my journey.”
There’s nothing as valuable in life as unwavering support from your parents. Unfortunately, most women don’t receive it. Most parents have a chart mapped out on which every move of their daughters is marked out. So, the girls who get steady and unquestionable support from their parents are lucky. Content Producer Ufaira Fayaz is one of them.
“Throughout my life’s path, there have been a lot of times when I’ve felt strong and independent. One of those moments was when I held the camera in my hand and started to make money on my own using the skills and knowledge I had developed over the years. But my parents’ unwavering confidence in me and their encouragement of my goals was the real win for me. The sense of empowerment that came with it was unmatchable.”