Feminism. As powerful as this buzzword sounds, many people who are gravely unaware of its actual connotations have attached a stigma to it and belittled it. Before delving into the topic any further, I will take a few moments to dispel any myths and common misconceptions associated with this word. Here is the literal definition of this new f-word;

Feminism: The advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.

And this is exactly what it is! Nothing more, nothing less. Feminists do not harbor any secret desires to propagate women supremacy, nor do they demand any special privileges for the latter. Feminists are not anti-men, nor are they anti-marriage, and they certainly do not have any unapologetic opinions about how women should behave or dress. I am strongly feminist but I don’t hate men. I have no reservations in attributing some of my own successes to the supportive men in my life, be it my father, husband or brother. I enjoy being married and guess what, I like “girly things” too, such as lipstick, heels, and dresses. Yes, you can be a feminist and still enjoy these. In fact, I am known to have a strong inclination towards the color pink.

Feminists do not crinkle their noses at stay at home moms, either. A feminist could be a stay-at-home mom or not a mom at all. The whole point of feminism is to embrace choices and be anything one wants to be without judging another woman on her choices. Every woman should be free to do whatever she pleases, and look however she desires.

So then, what actually does feminism entail? Feminists demand equal rights for women in every sphere and walk of life. It’s as simple as that. A goal to create a society in which individuals’ genders don’t restrict them from an equitable shot at success and happiness

Listed below are some simple yet effective ways in which you can play your part in taking back what it means to be a feminist.

Make use of social/print and electronic media.

Highlight the issue in hand and help people understand it better by writing blogs, sharing articles, or perhaps by doing live videos with meaningful messages; even tweeting hashtags of popular movements that support the theme is a perfectly acceptable way to show your support. But don’t just stop at that. Social media is a very important tool with an impact far more outreaching than we can ever imagine, and what’s more, it’s free! Challenge and counteract media that intentionally or unintentionally undermine women rights, make sure your voice is being heard by raising your concern and registering your complaints where appropriate. Learn how Meghan-Markle did it when she was only 11

Call out inequality

Even small acts of resistance can make a difference. According to Samantha Rennie, Executive Director at Rosa; “People must be held accountable for their thoughts and their actions, so when you see acts of sexism, racism, xenophobia, ableism, Islamophobia or anything else, call it out!” Sometimes people do not realize what’s wrong until someone points it out, so don’t hesitate to point out and raise awareness in suitable ways.

Support non-profit organizations working for women.

There a plethora of organizations that are tirelessly working to defend women rights. Many women have fought to give us what we today enjoy as basic rights. Women are more empowered, confident and bold than they ever were and this didn’t happen overnight; there have been people responsible for getting us here. However, in many parts of the world, women are still being abused, traded, mutilated and deprived of education. Honor killings, child brides, and acid attacks are still a sad reality for hundreds of women worldwide and these women need our support! Recent women’s marches across the globe clearly evidenced what we are capable of when we organize and mobilize. Also, being part of an organized support gives you a proper platform not only for championing your support but also connecting with like-minded individuals.

“If you want to build a more equal country, you need to push equality for women into the political space,” says Sophie Walker, leader of the Women’s Equality Party. And this essentially means supporting political parties which put women equality on their top agenda regularly.

Elicit support from men.

“Gender equality is your issue too,” says the actor and UN Women goodwill ambassador, Emma Watson, while addressing men in one of her recent speeches. #HeForShe was launched in September 2014 as a movement that aims to inspire and encourage men to take action against gender inequality. According to Professor Paul Boyle, Vice-Chancellor, University of Leicester, UK, men don’t think gender equality is their concern or is a critical thing that warrants a change. He says that, “In our institutions, gender​ equality discussions are dominated by women while men are getting on with research and other activities.“ To truly advocate women equality, do not dismiss support from men; encourage them to step up and play their part.

Mentor girls and raise their aspirations.

In my article Dear Girls, We Have Your Back published on Ellevate, I discuss how important it is to support and empower young girls these days and why it’s crucial to have female mentors for female students. “After all, when you empower girls, they say, you are raising the quality of life for everyone. It is these very girls that will lead children by example, lead businesses, lead communities and even lead the country one day and, by mentoring and raising their aspirations we are laying the ground for a future generation of women who have the power to crush stereotypes and rise above all challenges

Even little actions count and can potentially make a huge difference. Your one step forward could possibly inspire several others to do the same. March is long gone, but let’s continue taking feminism back and being bold for change today and forever after.


Hira Ali is the Chief Executive Officer Advancing Your Potential & Revitalize and Rise and the Founder of The Career Exceler For Trailblazing Women

She is an Executive Career Coach, Leadership Trainer, Motivational Speaker, Writer, Podcaster, & NLP Practitioner. She tweets @advancingyou and can be contacted at [email protected] Or via her Twitter, LinkedIn, Insta or Facebook profiles

Originally published at www.huffingtonpost.com and Ellevate Network


  • Hira Ali

    Author | Writer | Speaker | Executive Coach | Women & Ethnic Leadership Development | Gender Gap | Glass Ceiling | NLP

    Advancing Your Potential

    Hira Ali, Chief Executive Officer of Advancing Your Potential, Managing Director of International Women Empowerment Events  Co-Founder of Career Excel  Co-Founder of The Grey Area is a multi-faceted career coach and trainer who has impacted hundreds of people from various industries and professions across the world. She is an Associate Certified Coach accredited by International Coach Federation and a professional member of the Association for Neuro Linguistic Programming. Her widely acclaimed leadership and coaching articles have been published across a variety of leading outlets: The International Coach Federation, The Huff Post, Thrive Global, Women @ Forbes, Ellevate Network, Entrepreneur, Women Entrepreneur, Gulf News, The Female Lead and many more. Hira’s work has been featured in several interviews the recent one being by former BBC journalist Dan Parry -some of her blogs have been shared by Arianna Huffington herself. Her career development podcast, 8 Minutes of Learning With Hira Ali, has been featured in HuffPost as one of the top 100 rising podcasts with guests. Hira is a registered coach and mentor at various international organisations including: American Corporate Partners, the National Health Services, Mentor2mentees, and The Cherie Blair Foundation. She is the recipient of the Top 100 Women – Lift Effects Star Award and was one of the top three finalists for the Baton Awards, Entrepreneur of the Year. She has recently won Highly Commended women in media award sponsored by Microsoft at the prestigious win trade awards. In her recently published book Her Way to the Top: The Glass Ceiling is Thicker Than It Looks, she highlights the internal and external road blocks impeding a woman’s climb to the top irrespective of her culture and geography. The book has earned outstanding reviews from global influencers like Dr. Marshall Goldsmith, Cherie Blair, Valerie Young, Dr. Lois P Frankle, Chiara Condi, Dr. Yvonne Thompson, Carole Stone, Dr. Shola, Ziauddin Yousafzai (Malala’s dad) and many more and received a letter of appreciation from the London Mayor himself. Her Way To The Top has made it to the local newspapers such as Ham and High and international ones such as Europe Breaking News. Hira has been featured as a role model in the book Girls Who Do you Want To Be alongside global influencers like Arianna Huffington, Reshma Sujani, Claire Shipman, Sallie Krawcheck and many more. She is very passionate about empowering women and ethnic minorities and is a strong advocate of diversity and inclusion at work place. https://advancingyourpotential.com/reviews/   You can follow her on Follow her on Twitter, LinkedIn, Insta or Facebook