The first step to raising the standards of women's lives and their larger communities begins with recognizing their own authentic voices and using these to have a positive impact on the world.
As women, sometimes we tend to take the step back, be on the sidelines instead of playing the game, or make ourselves smaller so that we don't look too selfish or 'too much'. We spend more time being likable instead of forging ahead and getting our hands dirty doing the work. Instead of getting tough and aggressive, we don't want to step on anyone's toes and are slightly worried that if we push too hard, we may be called a 'bitch' and suddenly we stop to actually care. We put on heels and lipstick to help secure the deal but are hopeful that it is our intelligent minds that won over the sucker.
Speaking from my own experience, I am a young Filipino-Canadian woman who is already put into a box in society because of my background (My very first acting class, I asked my teacher what roles he could see me in and he said I'm limited to either the nanny, the nurse and maybe the secretary. The story of how I felt at that moment can be the basis of a future novel. Let's just say I eventually learned that TV isn't REAL life). I can either let my size and the color of my skin be a weakness in rising to the top or I can use it as my best competitive advantage. I choose the later.
As women, we are worth it. We still have a long way to go in terms of battling larger issues such as gender equality, violence and abuse, women in leadership positions, bullying, poverty and the list goes on. We need to start young to support girls in cultivating their confidence, skills and experience in order to reach their full potential. Under the right conditions, girls are able to grow and improve their communities. It starts with embracing their voices and making them know that what they are fighting for (or what they want to fight for) MATTERS. Even if in their little world, it doesn't seem so.
I invite you to check out my TEDx talk below which is a message for women and girls to listen to their most authentic voices. ENJOY! I Salute all women around the world continuing to make a difference! Let's keep going...