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The Definition Of ‘Empowerment’ From Women Around The World

Female empowerment - what does it really mean and how do women feel about it?

Belle-Lingerie13 December 2022

Female empowerment is a term most of us will be familiar with but what does it really mean and how do women feel about it? And most importantly, do women feel empowered in 2022? As part of our latest campaign, we surveyed 1,000 UK-based women to discover what empowerment means to them. We explored a variety of different areas to find out where women feel most confident, helping us create a conversation about what it means to be an empowered woman today.

The Meaning of Empowerment

We started our survey by asking our respondents to rank a series of statements from least to most important based on what female empowerment means to them. Out of the 1,000 women surveyed, over half (537) ranked ‘to have the ability to effect change’ as the number one meaning.

Our survey also asked our respondents to describe how the word empowerment makes them feel. Nearly half (45%) of women said it makes them feel determined, while 26% said it makes them feel proud, and slightly less (22%) feel happy, suggesting that this term has largely positive connotations.

Beauty

From clothes to lingerie, to makeup, there are many ways a woman can express their beauty and style. The truth is, more and more women are rejecting female beauty ideals - but it can be easy to succumb to the idea that you need to look a certain way. We asked our respondents if they feel included in the current health and beauty narrative, to which the majority (60%) of women said they feel somewhat included.

While 19% of women said they feel very included, only slightly less than this (17%) said they do not feel included at all, perhaps suggesting that there is still a way to go in putting an end to the feminine beauty ideal.

Finances

Having your finances under control can help you feel secure and content, enabling you to live comfortably - but how financially stable do women really feel?

We asked our respondents to choose the statement that best describes their financial situation. Of those surveyed, 39% of women described themselves as being fully financially independent. Nearly half (46%) of our respondents are looking to become financially independent and currently require some support, suggesting that the majority of women feel stable when it comes to money. Just 15% of women said they are not currently financially stable.

A woman’s salary often stands at the forefront in providing financial security - but how satisfied are women with how much they earn? Over a quarter (28%) of our respondents said they don’t feel satisfied at all when it comes to their pay.

In contrast to this, 11% of women at the other end of the spectrum said they feel very satisfied with their salary, and 51% said they feel somewhat satisfied.

Career

Feeling fulfilled when it comes to your career can provide a great sense of empowerment, so how many women feel this way in the workplace?

Empowerment at work isn’t just about how much you earn - being given the opportunity to climb the career ladder can play a part in how fulfilled you feel too. When asked if they believe they have the opportunity to progress at work, 55% of women said yes, while 28% said no and 17% said they are not sure.

We also asked our survey respondents how they feel about their male co-workers, specifically focusing on whether they felt equal. Interestingly, over a third (35%) of women said they feel somewhat equal to their male counterparts, while a quarter (25%) said they feel very equal. Over a third (37%) of respondents that chose these answers were aged 25 to 34 years old.

Lifestyle

While many women rely on their 9 to 5 to earn a living, sometimes it’s not enough. As we navigate through the current economic decline and cost of living crisis, many people are finding other ways to continue to afford their lifestyle, taking on so-called ‘side hustles’ to earn extra income.

In recent years, the internet-based subscription service OnlyFans has grown in popularity. While it provides users with a platform to make money, it is known primarily for sharing pornographic content, sparking the conversation of whether or not OnlyFans, and other sites like it, are in fact empowering women or not.

When broaching this subject with our survey respondents, 71% of women said they do think the emergence of sites like Only Fans is empowering women, with just 29% of respondents disagreeing. When asked why they think sites like OnlyFans are not empowering, some said they believe it to be degrading and objectifying to women, while others describe it as creating a false narrative.

Relationships

The relationships we hold and the influence loved ones have on us can impact how we feel about ourselves. Offering a multiple choice answer, when we asked our respondents who makes them feel the most empowered, 64% of women selected family, while 58% selected friends. Interestingly, 50% of respondents also selected ‘myself’, showing a large portion of women highly value the relationship they have with themselves too.

As part of our survey, we also asked the respondents to rate their self-worth, with one being the lowest level of self-worth and 10 being the highest. Our data shows that the greatest proportion (25%) of women ranked themselves at 7, while slightly less (23%) selected 8.

While only 10% of respondents placed themselves at 10 - the highest level of self-worth - this is still considerably more than the percentage of women (1%) who selected the lowest two levels of self-worth combined.

What does empowerment mean to you? Share your thoughts using #DefinitionOfEmpowerment and tag us at @BelleLingerieUK.

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