5 Ways to Empower Women and Girls Every Day
As an organization committed to improving the lives of women and girls in Honduras, we’d like to share what we’ve learned about creating a better world for our fellow sisters. Small actions add up. Ready to make a difference? Here are five of the most impactful ways to empower women and girls every day.
1. Create awareness
By taking advantage of several high-profile holidays, you can put the spotlight on important issues affecting women and girls. This is a perfect opportunity to share information and advocate for change.
For example, the United Nations sponsors:
- International Day of the Girl Child
- International Day of Women and Girls in Science
- International Women’s Day
- International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
In the United States, there’s also Women’s Equality Day, which celebrates giving women the right to vote, and Equal Pay Day, which focuses on the wage gap between men and women.
Choose one of the national holidays above and visit the sponsoring organizations to spread the word about women’s empowerment. Many of them offer ready-to-go posters, social media posts, and email messages. Partner with your school, workplace, church, or club to raise funds for a women-focused organization or push for a specific legislative change.
2. Support a girl’s education
Education is critical to empowering women. However, according to the United Nations, less than 40% of countries provide girls and boys equal access to education. In fact, 16 million girls will never set foot in a classroom – and women account for two-thirds of the 750 million adults without basic literacy skills.
Even though these statistics might be shocking to Americans, it’s a major issue that has far-reaching negative consequences for impoverished countries like Honduras. In some areas, the high school graduation rate for girls is as low as 13%. This leads to more child marriages, increased violence against women, and higher infant and child mortality rates.
At Our Little Roses, we provide a nurturing, healthy environment for abused, abandoned, and neglected girls in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. By personally supporting a child’s education for $70.00 per month, you can help empower that individual child, while also strengthening her surrounding community. We’re proud to have a 99% high school graduation rate, giving our girls the opportunity to be strong leaders and educated citizens of Honduras.
3. Be a mentor
Mentoring is an excellent way to empower women and girls. Would you like to help someone develop better self-esteem, overcome domestic violence, navigate a male-dominated workplace, or create their own business? It all depends on your experiences and where you’d like to give back.
You might consider volunteering for organizations like Girl Scouts or Big Brothers Big Sisters if you want to help a child build a healthy foundation for success. Or perhaps you’d like to encourage a young woman pursuing a STEM career? Million Women Mentors has a matching service.
Most local communities have women’s-only networking groups that can lead you to mentoring relationships. But keep in mind, you can always offer advice informally too. Look for moments where you can boost someone’s confidence, share hard-earned life lessons, or simply be there to listen.
4. Encourage girls that they can do anything
Even though it’s not always intentional, giving signals about what girls can and can’t do (or shouldn’t do) can have a lasting effect. This requires a bit of self-reflection since we’ve all inherited some biases of our own. Here are a few ideas on how to empower the girls in your life:
- Share books, games, movies, and art with non-traditional gender roles. Make sure they’re exposed to images they may not see in mainstream media.
- Invite them to a variety of activities based on their strengths and interests (instead of defaulting to traditional girl activities) and encourage friendships across gender.
- Ask questions if they begin to use gender stereotypes, such as “Does that seem fair?” or “Why would only girls (or boys) be able to do that?”
- Encourage leadership skills by giving them opportunities for public speaking, teamwork, and decision-making. Give them space to talk about their fears, such as criticism or disapproval.
By empowering girls at a young age, you’ll help create a new generation of powerful women leaders who are unafraid to pursue their dreams and reach their potential.
5. Speak up
In your daily life, you can make the most impact by demonstrating what empowerment looks like for the girls and women around you. That could mean modeling confident behavior or stepping up to protect others who are vulnerable. You could empower others by:
- Being assertive at a work meeting, to create a new norm for what’s appropriate and expected of women in the workplace.
- Pointing out inappropriate comments about you (or another woman), to make it clear that it’s unacceptable.
- Supporting a woman who’s being harassed or bullied, to show solidarity and add validity to her claims.
- Defending a woman who’s being gossiped about, to remove the stigma and create a safer environment.
- Congratulating a woman who’s succeeding, to share in each other’s accomplishments and lift her up.
Our Little Roses believes strongly that every girl deserves respect and love. By empowering women, you’re also lifting up the entire community.
Want to learn about other ways to empower women and girls in Honduras? You can help us carry out our mission by arranging fundraisers or coordinating a mission trip.