Millennials, and those born after us, associate Afghanistan with war. We know it as a distant place where our American soldiers have been fighting/protecting since the attack on September 11, 2001 and little else. Because of this timeline, most of us have only known the protections awarded to the Afghani people, and the progress made for women’s rights. But now the people, once again, face an uncertain future as Taliban rule grips the country, and fears mount over the restrictions imposed on Afghanistan’s women.
It’s hard to fathom what these women face. We live in a democratic society, at a time when females have been breaking the glass ceiling for decades, and continue to do so with each passing day. But imagine if it were all taken away. No more education, pursuit of career, or even the ability to walk alone. Imagine being an 15-year-old girl forced into marriage. Now, imagine this were your daughter, your niece, your sister. Those who have only known freedoms, happiness, to have it engulfed in flames, a wildfire of despair.
This weeks Weekly Wellness has a somber tone because woman all over the world ache over what Afghanistan is going through. In a flash flood of headlines, we’re suddenly made acutely aware of what little liberties our fellow females have, and the brutalities they face, in other parts of the globe.
While I won’t presume to give advice over what can be done abroad, I’d like to touch upon the ways we can further empower women in our backyards to achieve a healthy mindset.
Continue The Conversation
Surround yourself with a group of women that empowers one another. This can be a support group, network, or even your own family and friends. Together, tap into resources that provide accurate information on what goes on in other parts of the world. Typically, a .gov or .org site will have the most reliable data and facts. Through global awareness comes local accountability. When we continue the conversation on what occurs in other parts of the world it helps us appreciate what we have in our own backyards. Further, it encourages us to take action for ourselves that could, someday, help change the future for someone else and builds trusting relationships.
Education is a powerful tool that empowers women to achieve their goals— at all ages. When we take advantage of the tools available to us— schools, libraries, museums, etc.— we begin to think about the world in possibilities. It shapes our future and is a step towards gaining independence. It also builds confidence and promotes higher self-esteem.
Promote Body Positivity
As part of continuing the conversation and furthering education, women are empowered through body positivity— form to functionality. Learn all about your body and how beautiful it is, through every age and stage of life. Accept every piece of who you are and know that you are more than enough. When we take down the walls of negativity— the “should be” sizes, weights, images, status, career etc.— we build a positive mindset that leads to healthier habits.
It’s okay to feel helpless right now and need time away from the headlines. Unfortunately, not all of us are in a position to change what occurs on foreign ground. But know that you are not helpless. You have tremendous strength and ability to change the future and empower women right where you are. Think global, act local, and help create an informed community of support.