Empowering Women

On Saturday May 2 2015 I had the great pleasure to take part in Power of Women presented by Jenny MacKenzie Dannsair Wellness at the Mabou Hall.  This fundraising event was put on out of inspiration to bring women together in support of women. The focus of the fundraising was for Leeside Transition House in Port Hawkesbury.  Leeside is a place for women and their children who are being abused in intimate and spousal relationships to go and find safety.  

Power is a word that is used in reference to many different aspects of life including the power of an engine, the electrical power that lights our houses, the physical force a person can exert, the power of speech or language, and it also refers to the ability individuals have influence their own lives.  Power is a force that exerts an influence in the world.  We all have power, some more than others, and some groups of people exert and hold a lot more power than others.   

Power is also related to agency in this world; agency is the capacity and freedom people have to make choices of their own free will.  When someone or something has a lot of power they are able to do what they want when they want to.  In our society and generally the world, power is probably most closely associated with money.  The more money someone has the more influence and agency they have; they are able to influence other people and events. Unfortunately we have been living in a world, especially when we look at the big picture of the global world, where power is abused and used for personal or partisan gain rather than for the benefit of all.  Women (and men too but that is the subject of another time) have been and unfortunately still are subject to the abuse of power.  Abuses of power happen on a very physical level when force is used to take away a woman’s power and ability to make her own choices about her body; physical abuse and sexual assault are still very very common in our province.  Abuse of power also happens when a person who for example is very manipulative and good at twisting words creates a situation of belittlement striping another person of their power and sense of self through emotional abuse.  

Power is also something that is personally held within us that can have nothing to do with money, upbringing, what groups a person belongs to, and most importantly it can be separated from what others say about us or do to us.  It is in a sense about holding our own and believing in ourselves despite the many obstacles, abuses or limiting believes others hold of us.  Power is our ability to influence the micro environment around us so that we do hold our own.  In situations of domestic abuse if a women knows her own power and her own worth she is more likely to take steps to remove herself from those abuses. 

There are many times however that the abuses are so great, and the agency of a woman is so diminished through poverty or rigidly held social constructs that choice is almost non existent.  The Power of Women event on Saturday was to reinforce the power we have to help other women and support the social structures like Leeside Transition house that have been created to hold power for others when they can’t hold it for themselves.  This process is called empowerment - taking our lives into our own hands. The event was about empowering women so as a group we are more able to support ourselves for the benefit of all.  The highest qualities of women hold a special ability to care for others, nurture individuality and look out for the benefit of all setting aside personal gain - these are essential qualities required to overcome the many challenges we face. Congrats to Jenny MacKenzie and all those who participated in the event getting bringing together to continue to empower and strengthen feminine gifts.  To learn more about the Leedside Transition House in Port Hawkesbury email leesidedir@eastlink.ca, call 625-1990 or visit http://thans.ca/get-help/find-a-shelter/leeside-transition-house/.