1. make (someone) stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights.
synonyms: authorize, entitle, permit, allow, license, sanction, warrant, commission, delegate
On the final day of this year's Commission on the Status of Women, I chose to sit in on a session entitled "Empower Women and Girls Globally." From the title itself, there was little to predict in terms of sub-focalizations, however I can honestly say that it may have been one of the more meaningful presentations I attended.
Unfortunately, with a bus to catch back to campus, I was unable to stay for the entirety of the session, but what I was able to witness has left a lasting impression.
Although locally-based, the New York City Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence representative raised her voice on behalf of all those affected by acts of gender violence. Between 2001 and 2012, New York City alone reported 864 domestic violence homicides of which 4 out of 5 victims were women. Other forms of abuse, whether physical, sexual, emotional or financial in nature largely go unreported. Statistics like this should render us speechless, but in this and many regions of the world, desensitization is far too common. What was previously infuriating has become the norm, and this must stop.
While the NYC Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence frequently finds themselves at the front line of gender violence responders, they and some of the other NGOs leading the session are heavily involved in advocacy campaigns designed to empower women and girls at all walks of life. Here are a few key take-aways:
- It is never too early to teach a girl that she, as a person, holds intrinsic value.
- It is never too late to teach a woman that she, as a person, is capable of great feats regardless of the challenges she has faced and others that have torn her down.
- To be feminist is to support other women; time spend devaluing another person is time wasted.