A collaborative post by
the members of AWN
Embark, embrace, empathy, empower! Those are definitely words that represent the Ag Women’s Network. In the fall of 2013, a group of young women interested in agriculture met around a dinner table and discussed their futures and how they saw the future of agriculture. They embarked on a path to form the Ag Women’s Network. Over a short period of time, more than 1000 women have embraced this idea and the networking and personal development opportunities within the AWN. These women are of different ages, stages, interests, hometowns, hopes and dreams. With empathy these women have shared their opinions, personal stories, career paths, concerns, family life and farm involvements. Empowering is a word that easily comes to mind when reflecting on the past, present and future of the Ag Women’s Network.
Empowerment was the theme word for the 2016 celebration of International Women’s Day. AWN decided to share in this celebration by producing a unique blog post created through collaboration. So, an invitation to collaborate went out and the resulting feedback further exemplified what AWN is all about. Thanks to MaryAnn, Courtney, Denise, Melissa, Christine, Marilyn, Leslie, Andrea, Kate, Janet, Sophie, Krista, Jen, Maureen and Joan for your thoughts.
Empowerment means recognizing your self-worth and believing in the value of your unique skill set to accomplish your dreams. Whether you are bringing out the right skill sets to excel, or learning to be true to yourself, or accomplishing a task, or reaching a success once thought unachievable, or understanding that information is power – YOU are a shining example of empowerment.
Empowerment is about learning. Learning it is okay to say no to certain projects or events. Learning to fully embrace mistakes. Learning that you can do things when faced with a challenge. Learning lessons from experiences and from missteps. Learning to look beyond limitations and truly believe that with hard work and dedication anything is possible.
Empowering others is like a pebble dropped into water. It means building others up while not tearing down others around you. It happens when we exchange knowledge with those immediately around us or more broadly as with social media. Information is power so sharing information is empowerment. Empowering others happens when we genuinely want others to succeed without our own agenda or ulterior motive. It’s the recognition and genuine appreciation we give to others. That water keeps rippling with keen interest in helping others to improve.
Empowerment is action – inspiring, dancing, singing, knowing, thinking, feeling, accomplishing, rocking a project, delegating, educating one’s self on topics of interest or career enhancement, taking on challenges, and facing the terrifying gut reaction as you take on those challenges. It’s realizing the confidence you need to step forward or overcome what’s holding you back. We often feel empowerment through external motivation as we find out about the accomplishments and successes of other women. These actions give us the confidence to work toward goals.
Empowerment has synonyms in the words – women; skills & support; confidence; a “we can” attitude; be yourself; inspire; find and do your passions; an acknowledgement of “I can make a difference”; having the means to accomplish what you want to do; knowing your rights; knowing the truth; having the facts; freedom to progress. Empowerment can be as simple as the word “encouragement” to a younger generation of women in Agriculture.
How can we summarize the value of empowerment? Melissa’s words say it well, “As a Canadian woman, my take on empowerment comes from a place of gratitude, first of all. I have never had to fight for my basic human rights, access to any level of education or the right to vote.”
Reflect on these words about empowerment. You will recognize embark, embrace and empathy within them as well.