I’ve always had a real problem with the word empowerment. I find it all too self-help-book-aisle and sort of feel like it’s one of those words that doesn’t really mean anything. Ultimately, empowerment is about power. If you don’t have any power, you probably don’t feel very empowered. For many women, telling them they should feel more empowered is a sick joke as they work overtime to pay off their mountains of bills and hope they don’t get sick because they don’t have health insurance or paid sick leave.
In other words, all too often it isn’t a “power of positive thinking” mindset that gives us power, it is our powerful circumstances and accomplishments. Telling all women, some of whom have pretty cushy circumstances and others who have pretty terrible ones, that they should feel empowered is silly. Rather than setting aside a week on the calendar for them to reach into their “self-empowerment” bag, maybe we should work on a social safety net that will give women the tools to make a good life for themselves.
Cross posted on Pushback.