...is a girl.
As someone raised by a strong-willed single mother, I never knew how to be except to be a strong woman. 'Power' and 'woman' were not mutually exclusive; they were a spoken given in one breath. Of course, as I grew older, I knew this was not the case in most parts of the world and in most spheres of the human mind. Even women themselves held up the notion (usually unconsciously) that they were weaker, less intelligent, less influential, and just...less.
But women are far more powerful than we ever think we are: we give life, rear precious souls into the world, get our hearts broken, tolerate stereotypes if not blows and insults, triumph over failures, trudge through crises, and are capable of so much love for everyone that sometimes we forget to love ourselves.
A famous quote once stated, "Women hold up half the sky." Ironically (albeit unsurprisingly), a man said that.
Well, let me say that, woman to woman: we hold up half the sky and so much more. We hold up homes, families, children, villages, and entire countries. We hold up the world.
Recently, I have had to defend my being a woman to both men and women. As if my leadership and sense of a great vision had to be justified precisely because I am a woman. When men assert their ideas, they are seen as leaders. When women do the same, they are bitches.
But what I go through as I embark into the business world is nothing compared to what other women go through just by trying to live a decent life. And this is where The Girl Effect comes in.
I believe with every fiber of my being that, as much as women hold up half the sky, we, too, must hold up each other and our own selves.
Do not be less of who you are. Do not apologize for being a woman. Do not underestimate your courage, your sense of vision, and bravado. Do not be ashamed when you show weakness and more so when you show strength.
And, for those little girls and women who cannot speak for themselves, be their voice. Be their light. Be the one to hold them up. Be their heroine.
I wasn't originally going to post anything new just yet. But, more and more, I am beginning to realize what my power as a woman truly is. I would not have realized my own power if it were not for people who think less of me, judge me wrongly, and completely underestimate me.
So, I am talking to you right now. Yes, you. This is for every woman who has ever felt less of herself, ashamed of her thoughts, or thought she couldn't because she's a girl.
If every woman believes she is powerful and every girl knows that she is as beautiful as she is intelligent, imagine the world we can live in. That world is neither impossible nor fiction; it is as real as the air we breathe.
So, from this moment on, accept yourself as you truly are: powerful.