This past Saturday, I was invited to attend an all-women empowerment conference hosted by the University of Cincinnati. The guest list included successful entrepreneurs and businesswomen, and there was even an entire session dedicated to managing your finances and planning for retirement. Everyone in attendance received the best coaching possible in order to achieve their dreams and become successful women.

Women empowerment is not a leftist issue, it is a bipartisan issue.

However, some would argue that women don’t need to be empowered and that we are already equal to men. This is not entirely the case. While women have made it such a long way, our society is not perfect. There is still a long fight ahead before we achieve the truest form of equality.The conference was not promoting the false narrative of the oppression of women. We even discussed why the wage gap is a misconstrued statistic. But the fact of the matter is that women still need encouragement and support to achieve their dreams. The reason, though, is not the one you may be expecting.

The fact of the matter is that women still need encouragement and support to achieve their dreams.

In our society, women do not support other women.

We constantly tear each other down and start petty arguments. Jealousy and rumors plague our gender. With men, it is somewhat different. They may argue, but they settle it and move on. Women, on the other hand, allow disagreements to turn into grudges. This, combined with the constant comparisons we are subjected to, create a recipe for disaster. If women would learn to uplift one another, the “gap” of inequality between the genders would be virtually non-existent.

At my conference, we learned that a large portion of the wage gap can be attributed to the fact that women do not negotiate for higher salaries. Roughly 60% of men will negotiate for higher salaries, but only 7% of women will. This is absurd. If women were to encourage one another to expect better for themselves, those percentages would be equal. Women are strong and powerful. If we were to uplift one another, maybe we would finally have a shot at economic equality.

If we were to uplift one another, maybe we would finally have a shot at economic equality.

Women are no longer damsels in distress. We can stand on our own two feet and pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. A strong woman — an empowered woman — needs the support of the women around her to achieve her goals. Women empowerment is not a leftist issue, it is a bipartisan issue. In order to fully reap all of the benefits this great country has to offer us, women need to be a force to be reckoned with. Women empowerment is not a woman’s issue, it is a human issue.

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