No woman should wait to be empowered

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Temps de lecture : 2 minutes
Catherine Leclezio

The size of this country limits its ability to evolve. It is too inbred, stakes are too high to challenge the powerful. But where women are concerned: how many times have I witnessed submission in a debate, a marriage, an extended family – in fact, in any group where a man has assumed leadership, whether capable or not. Corporates won’t provide the self-belief, the internal locus of control, and the confidence required for a woman to assert herself. To start with, she should see herself as an individual, not as a « woman », because the latter taps on ancient paternalistic concepts of the inferiority of women.

No woman should wait to be empowered, least of all by a male dominated society; empowerment comes from within. It starts with a cold, hard look at our own beliefs, attitudes, prejudices, and an analysis of the society (and religion) from which we have emerged – done with kindness and open-mindedness. It’s a hard, high-risk and alienating choice for Mauritian women. Few of us are prepared to revisit our value system and ignore or even resist society’s judgement and discrimination. Yet, it is vital to dismantle the societal oppression we have taken as « normal ».

Empowerment comes from within. It starts with a cold, hard look at our own beliefs, attitudes, prejudices, and an analysis of the society (and religion) from which we have emerged.

The most widely celebrated women of liberation movements have come from cultures other than ours: Maya Angelou, Malala Yousafzai, Rosa Parks. Yet, several Mauritian women have blazed their own trail, for example, Noémi Alphonse, Carina Gounden and Yogita Babboo. Read their biographies and their defining moments. Rethink gay rights, boardroom politics, political leadership. Watch inspirational movies: Erin Brockovich, The devil wears Prada, Hidden figures, Moana. Stop agreeing with woman victim jokes. Ensure the traditional « male » and « female » roles are split (within reason) between spouses.

These tips only take us to the starting blocks, but it helps to embody the personality of the « strong » woman. Claim it. Daily. Forever. Never, ever forgetting the femininity that makes women soft, intuitive, creative, fun, compassionate, good listeners, and ultimately, beautiful.

Let go of corporate training, window dressing and lip service. Start small, develop bold. Those are the only ways in which Women’s Rights will be achieved.

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Catherine Leclezio


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