Empowerment: The new four-letter word

Dec 15, 2015

Why Empowerment is the New Four-Letter Word | www.nalumana.com

Since having started a business with women’s empowerment as the undercurrent thrumming steadily through everything I do and everything I offer, I seem to be noticing and attracting a lot of other businesses, individuals and organizations who also have the same interests at heart.

But rather than being thrilled about this, I find much of it slightly disconcerting. 

Gradually, empowerment seems to have become my new four-letter word.


You see, in many (most?) of the contexts in which it is mentioned, empowerment seems to take the form of an action completed by one person for, on, or to another.

I want to empower women to make better food choices.

I want to empower you to speak up for yourself at work.

I want to empower people to get what they want out of their relationships.

The way the word is used by so many implies that we must rely on others for empowerment.  In fact, when “empowerment” is dissected and defined, it means to give or bestow power on another.

I’d like to think that empowerment should be more about finding your own power, rather than having it given to you by a well-meaning coach, doula, friend, nutritionist, or anyone else, for that matter.


I believe empowerment happens when people are shown the areas of their life in which they are strongly using their power, or how to put themselves in situations that draw out their inner strength.  I believe empowerment can be facilitated, nurtured and supported by another person, but is ultimately about the work that each of us, as individuals, have to do in our own lives to clearly see and understand our strengths, to believe in ourselves, to confidently take risks and to deeply own and accept who we are, where we’ve been, and where we’re going.

Your turn:


Do you find the word “empowerment” empowering?  Does it mean anything to you?

When have you felt empowered?

Has anyone ever helped you to feel empowered?