I Am A Woman, Hear Me Roar!
Published on: July 11, 2020
Shaz Lalji explains how we can empower the next generation to lead an equitable future through education, sharing our stories, and celebrating each other’s successes!
By Shaz Lalji
For generations, women have been fighting for empowerment. Even something as basic as voting was non-existent for women for so long. As far as we have come, gender equality is still not a reality around the world, but there is hope, and education is one area that has been proven to have a tremendous impact on gender empowerment.
I’m raising a daughter and I continue to teach her that she controls her body, is entitled to have her opinion heard, can make decisions for herself (by herself) and most importantly that she is equal to the person standing next to her, regardless of race, religion and gender.
…we are an essential part of a child’s learning
In addition to being a nurturing, working, fun and loving mom, I am an educator. An educator of life, love, and empowerment!
As expats who may be raising third culture children, most of us are fortunate to spend a lot of time with our children. Along with our communities and teachers, we are an essential part of a child’s learning and their social, cultural and economic development.
Teaching transmits and implants social values and nurtures a child’s creativity, talent and interests. It provides children with the skills and knowledge to question and solve problems that they encounter in childhood and throughout their lives. It gives them confidence; it gives them power!
Empowering the next generation
What I sometimes struggle with is how do we, as women and mothers, certify ourselves so we can empower our next generation to lead an equitable and promising future.
The answer is that we work together, as a community, as leaders. We teach and model honesty; we become cheerleaders to encourage each other, to step up, and tell our stories.
▶ Be Honest
Being honest gives us the opportunity for growth. It is not to say we scold or “catch” women behaving badly. We open the doors to discuss and learn about practices and performance so we can keep improving to be the best version of ourselves.
▶ Be a Cheerleader
As a small business owner and single mom living away from my home country, I look for people to be my cheerleader! We need to celebrate and motivate each other’s success and understand the progress of another does not diminish our own success. When our children see us applaud another woman’s accomplishments it helps them to envision their pathway to success with confidence and strength.
▶ Encourage Women to Step Up
It is often too easy to get caught up in our day to day roles and responsibilities and not consider or even see potential opportunities. As a community who can empathize with these struggles, we need to shed light on these occasions for each other so that we can broaden our skills or enhance our careers. We need to uplift each other!
▶ Tell Your Story
Telling your story offers others the chance to learn from our mistakes and our successes. Telling our stories helps people relate to us and see themselves in our shoes. Representation matters, so share your story!
Be the one who roots for the other woman
My very first job as a stylist was at a high-end salon where I didn’t think I would fit in. The job opportunity came from a friend who was cheerleading for me. I didn’t want to seem ungrateful so I went for the interview knowing I would intentionally botch it so I wouldn’t have to work there. At the end of the interview, my boss said, ‘I know you don’t want this job, but I am going to offer it to you anyway.’
He taught me a valuable lesson that day. He said, ‘make sure you don’t burn any bridges along your journey, you never know when you’ll cross that bridge again in the future!’
In the end, I accepted the job offer. Because of his encouragement to step up, I was given an amazing opportunity. I worked at that salon for eight years, and it was one of the best experiences of my life, both professionally and personally. I tell that story and always end with enforcing the point of not burning bridges.
Think about all the women in your life, at work and in your personal life. Lift them up, share your story, help them find and share their voice, encourage them to step out of their comfort zone, and be their cheerleader.
When we celebrate successes and empower other women, we all succeed! Be the one who roots for the other woman, tells a stranger her hair looks amazing, and encourages other women to believe in themselves and their dreams! Be an educator to the next generation; our children are watching us!
Photo courtesy of the author.
About the Author
Shaz has been a stylist for 15 years and has her own studio in Bangkok, Love Your Hair. She also has a degree in child and youth development and is very passionate about combining her love for both hair and children.
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