Change only happens when women themselves are empowered. In the words of G.D Anderson – a writer and activist, “Feminism is not about making women strong. Women are already strong. It’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength”.
Perceiving that strength – at the end of the day, it’s always more about changing perceptions instead of ‘fixing’ a so-called flaw that was constructed as a flaw merely due to societal perceptions. Seeing the problem as a systematic issue, we cannot help but beg the question: what exactly can we do to build up the steps to make the world a safer place for girls and women?
That’s exactly what community empowerment means—fighting not only for ourselves but for girls and women everywhere by empowering each other. Cambridge defines solidarity as an agreement between and support for the members of a particular group, and in this context, women.
People often assume that for a person to be qualified as a true feminist, every single thing that a girl or woman does must be agreed upon and supported, regardless of rights and wrongs. Allah strictly mentions in the Quran that those men and women who support one another are believers when they encourage good and forbid evil (9:71). What can be deduced from the verse is that, for whatever that is good, we shall support and for whatever that is prohibited, we shall refrain.
In every community, there will be an extremist. If their values clash with the ones you uphold, leave it. All in all, the importance of women’s solidarity is that when facing discrimination, women often do not know whom to confide in.
Having a solid community can confer them comfort and consolation because, more often than not, the struggles we face can only be understood by a fellow woman.
It is human nature to want to confide in someone who has faced the same trials and tribulations as us.
One can claim to be the most independent. However, even an independent person has a solid support system when life gets a little rough. Only in times of confiding do we find the ability to keep pushing forward.
Take a look at the annual women’s march held throughout almost every part of the world. More and more women choose to have a hand in it due to its identity. Stekelenburg and Klandermans (2013) stated that the more you identify with a group, the more likely you are to participate. We cannot bring about change in a day or two as we must first gather the likes of us in preparation for such change. Through women’s solidarity, our country has made a relatively significant progress in various areas of women’s issues, including the tabling of the Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill in the Parliament, which took almost 30 years to see the light.
The question now is: how do we build a community specifically catered for women empowerment?
Here at EmpowHer – the women division of the newly established activism club called The Good Society, we push women to the very best of their potential. From building a solid sisterhood to learning and spreading awareness on women-related issues.
We acknowledge how pivotal this is as we know many capable women who are yet afraid to break these prejudice and stereotypes. Because of that, we push them forward and give them the support they need. In the words of the famous actress Zendaya – “I think women are very powerful, and I think we are more powerful together than separated”.