Wilmington TEDx event focuses on women’s empowerment

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Survivors, life coaches and other women’s advocates focused on empowerment Friday at a TEDx event in Wilmington, Delaware. Twenty-seven speakers covered everything from disease and fear to assault and depression.

More than 100 people listened in the downtown Theatre N at Nemours as speakers shared their stories — and solutions others can use.

Tiffany Gwilliam, a mother of three from King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, looks like the picture of health. But she explained how she survived melanoma several years ago, only to learn in 2016 that she had thyroid cancer.

“Hearing the devastating news brought me to my knees,” she told the audience. “I had beaten cancer once before, but this time I was more petrified for my kids. Will I beat this?”

Gwilliam said aggressively advocating for herself — and challenging medical professionals when necessary — has aided her recovery. She’s in remission.

Karen Pilgrim of Brooklyn, who runs the nonprofit Vision Vegan Soul, tells women to “stay powerful and love yourself enough.” (Cris Barrish/WHYY)

“When communication breaks down, it leaves the door open for medical errors, preventable hospital admissions and unintended harm,” she said. “I’ve learned a powerful phrase: I do not feel I am being listened to and need some clarity.”

Motivational speaker Karen Pilgrim, who runs the Brooklyn nonprofit Vision Vegan Soul, said her mission is to help women take the necessary steps to turn their visions into action, and self-fulfillment.

Her message?

“Just stay powerful and love yourself enough. No. 1, you are a woman in the United States. That right there is overcoming a challenge,” she said, chuckling. “And then, any obstacles that you come to, that’s part of your journey. It’s going to make you a better person.”

The overall theme of the day was “showing up,” said TEDx Wilmington organizer Ajit George. “Otherwise, you are not in the game.”

5 Ways To Empower Women & Girls

Women empowerment is a mission… a fight and a necessity. It’s a fight, not between men and women, but a fight between those who respect women and those who do not.

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Empowering women to participate fully in economic life across all sectors is essential to building stronger economies, achieve internationally agreed goals for development and sustainability, and improve the quality of life for women, men, families, and communities.

The basic problem is that the Indian social setup is hierarchical. There is a hierarchy based on caste, gender, age, wealth etc. The relationship between any two individuals is not of equals but superior – subordinate (privileged – discriminated) be it husband- wife, parents – son, upper castes – lower castes. Ensuring women empowerment is a subset of a bigger movement to end discrimination and bring equality.

Therefore, what is required to be done is to treat all individuals equally. Women (and men) should give equal respect to lower castes, poor and younger ones in the families. In most traditional families, the eldest son is generally privileged over other siblings and this is where women can themselves act to end discrimination.

Besides this, some other steps can be taken such as:

1. Education

Education To Empower Women & Girls

Nelson Mandela had rightly said Education is the most powerful weapon to change the world. Education women will have better position and respect in the society and family, also they can better understand their rights. For eg, a woman police officer is More likely to be more sensitive to women issues, hence can work for their empowerment and safety.

In India, education in rural areas is too poor and not been delivered as required. We as a whole need to contribute a help to improve the education level in rural areas so that our country will grow. There is one spiritual saint Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh from Sirsa, Haryana, he is doing some amazing welfare activities like providing education, food, shelter and even health facilities to women in his Dera. The organization is known as Dera Sacha Sauda.

2. Create a Safe Space

Create a Safe Space

Women in South Asia often have nowhere to gather with other women and talk about issues like gender equity, women’s rights, or health. READ Centers provide a safe, trusted space for women to gather and learn.

“The Center is a safe place for women, and we don’t really need approval from our family to visit.”

3. Teach job skills and seed businesses

CROSS RAIL . For Ben Green  Mail On Sunday. For IDs see ID pix with names on Copyright photo by Les Wilson  Les@leswilson.com 16th Aug 2017

Women learn beekeeping, mushroom farming, sewing, and other income-generating skills through training programs at READ Centers. One in five Nepali women report going on to start her own income-generating business after joining a savings cooperative and taking skills training at a READ Center.

The unpaid work women and girls do provide the foundation for the global economy. This fact needs to be highlighted more in the media, with the private sector and in communities. More research and data for messaging on this point could be useful in promoting the key role and contributions women and girls make to the economy and the need for proper recognition and compensation. We also need a concerted campaign for equal pay for equal work worldwide.

4. Impact health

Better health, Sanitation facilities and adequate no of hospitals especially in rural areas are essential. For eg, Better sanitation and toilet facility in schools can increase female enrolment ratio.

Women report increased influence in their families and communities after receiving training or information from their local READ Center on health care, family planning, domestic violence and reproductive rights. Almost all READ Center users (88-97%) access health information and services at Centers that they would not otherwise be able to access.

“I learned about women’s empowerment, women’s rights, gender equity… Now I can raise my voice against any form of violence…”

5. Let girls use mobile phones

Let girls use mobile phones

The majority of girls in India don’t have access to using basic technology such as phones and computers because of infrastructure related challenges and economic reasons. Increasingly we see bans on girls using mobile phones.

The dialogue on girls’ access to Stem [science, technology, engineering and maths] education and women’s role in technology has not even started to be acknowledged. Can girls and women access equal resources, opportunities and rights without access to technology?