On Sunday the 7th of January every human rights advocate, both male and female, had a reason to celebrate. History was being made during the Golden Globes Awards ceremony when the first black woman was awarded the Cecile B De Mille Award. That same woman gave a speech announcing the start of a new era; an era when men and women alike work together to achieve a world that is equally safe regardless of one’s gender.
Even though Oprah Winfrey was speaking mostly about sexual abuse, the message she conveyed was much broader: she strengthened the feeling of solidarity with all women that is awake since the #MeToo movement of October 2017. Today, women are noticed more than ever, and so is their vulnerable position.
‘They are domestic workers and farm workers. They are working in factories, and they work in restaurants, and they’re in academia and engineering and medicine and science. They’re part of the world of tech and politics and business. They are athletes in the Olympics, and they are soldiers in the military.’
They are refugees as well. They are mothers and daughters that flee war through several countries and seas to find a safe place to live. And the most beautiful part of Oprah’s message is that women, no matter what their status, age or colour is, are not helpless victims. They stand up for their rights and fight to secure their livelihoods, chase their dreams and protect their children, even if it means enduring years of abuse or crossing the sea. Women do not need to be pitied for their gender-related vulnerabilities; they need to be given opportunities to show their full potential in whatever they choose to do.
This is the ideal She Matters is striving for. We recognise the immense talents and willpower women have, and we want to commit to let each of them grow. Our employment programme has consequences that encompass the economic empowerment. By securing employment, women – some of whom were never allowed to work before – connect with their aspirations and find out what their strong points are. In effect, their self-confidence is boosted and they become the heads of their households and the agents for changing the situation of millions that are still trapped in the gender-related traps. It is a process that seems to be best taken step-by-step, but with time these steps becomes bigger as more women get empowered, inspiring others to take action the way Oprah Winfrey did last Sunday.
The new day is on the horizon, and once it dawns, every woman will be confident enough to pursue the life she chose herself; and to support others on their journey.