The Characteristics of an Empowered Woman

The Characteristics of an Empowered Woman

We’ve all seen what we think an empowered woman is.  She walks down the street or into a meeting, head held high, shoulders back, with a confidence in her walk that we often envy.  She just seems to know herself.  Nothing seems to shake her.

Others remark about her strength and self-confidence, but if you really think about it, what does she have that we admire?  What is it that she does or has that makes us see her as an empowered woman who seems to have everything under control?   The same way we want to have everything under control in our work, in our relationships and in ourselves?

Defined as ‘powerful, strong and in control’, empowerment is what we all strive for in some way. To be in control of our lives, to have the freedom to make choices we want to, to be able to go where we like and do what we like, so we can live happy and productive lives.

Yet, there are many things that can hinder modern day women from feeling and becoming empowered.  Gender inequality is at the crux of the problem, and is rife in leadership, business, politics and all facets of life. But still we need to try and thrive and rise above the adversity we experience in any way we can.  And many women do.

‘I raise up my voice—not so I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard…we cannot succeed when half of us are held back.

Malala Yousafzai

What makes a woman appear empowered?

There are many indicators that a woman is empowered, with the following as key in my experience:

  1. A sense of self-confidence.  She knows what she’s about, she knows what she wants, and she is doing what she can to achieve it.
  2. She has presence.  She walks into a room and her body language, confident and upright, makes impact.  People know when she’s arrived. She’ll shake everybody’s hand, looking at them straight in the eye with a warm smile on her face.
  3. She is well presented. She takes pride in her appearance and dresses well and is well groomed.  She dresses appropriately for any occasion and makes the effort to look the part.
  4. She is approachable and personable. She smiles warmly, is encouraging and open and you can feel comfortable with her.
  5. She holds her own in any situation or in front of any audience. In a room of two or in front of an audience of thousands, she can speak well publicly, clearly and in an articulate way and can get her message across concisely.  No stumbles or ‘er’ and ‘um’ for her.  She has prepared her information and speech and delivers it with punch.
  6. She doesn’t roll over when others don’t agree with her.  She calmly asks them why they disagree with her and either agrees to change her opinion (or part of it) or thanks them for their contribution and sticks to her point.
  7. She is emotionally intelligent.  In the face of difficulty or adversity, she remains empowered and in control by remaining calm, allowing her thoughts to overrule her emotions, to ensure emotionally-charged decisions are not made in haste.
  8. She is able to make choices by being informed and self-reliant.  She doesn’t make decisions or choices in haste, but remains calm and thinks things through by weighing up all the options before moving forward.
  9. She backs herself up.  When she makes a decision, she supports herself.  She owns her strength.
  10. She is strong and resilient. No matter what life throws at her, she can calmly deal with it and keep facing forward, to the future.
  11. She is humble and has empathy. Arrogance is not part of how she behaves and she genuinely feels for the plight of others.  After all, she has gone through hard times and adversity too and she has come through them a better and stronger person.
  12. She is high in self-esteem, self-reliance and self-confidence.  She likes and believes in herself, she bounces forward when life is hard and she backs herself all the way.

‘I’m tough, I’m ambitious, and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, okay.’


Empowerment for women is a journey

We don’t wake up one day suddenly ‘empowered.’  It is a process that happens over time, as we gain confidence in the things we do and the decisions we make.  There are those who are not empowered and probably won’t be, because they don’t see they are not empowered or don’t see the need to be or don’t do anything to become empowered.

But most women do want to be empowered, to be in control of their choices and lives.

A powerful example of a disempowered woman in today’s world is one who cannot tell me how much money her husband earns, what superannuation they have and that if she wants to do something menial (such as go to the hairdresser or get a new dress) she is not allowed to do that without asking him first.

Note that she has no free choice here, cannot make the decisions she wants to alone and by not knowing what money they have (or don’t have), he has limited her options, given her fewer choices and left her powerless.  Disempowered.

But once you follow the 12 characteristics of empowered women outlined above (you may need help to do so), you are on our way to becoming empowered.  And what a wonderful, liberating experience that is.

A woman with a voice is, by definition,a strong woman.’

Melinda Gates

There are many examples of empowered women around the world today. Here are just a few, who I admire. Who are the empowered women in your life?

  • Oprah Winfrey. She came from a very poor and disadvantaged background and was anything but empowered as a child and in her younger life, but she has all the characteristics now mentioned above.  Her favourite women’s empowerment quote;

 ‘Whatever you fear most has not power – it’s your fear that has the power.’

  • Estee Lauder, founder of a beauty and perfumery line empire.

Her quote is ‘I never dreamed about success.  I worked for it.’

  • Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook. She says:

We need women at all levels, including the top, to change the dynamic, reshape the conversation, to make sure women’s voices are heard and heeded, not overlooked and ignored.’

All women can work towards being empowered

You can be empowered too. It’s not just the lucky, or the rich and famous.  It’s everyday women like you and me, who can live a wonderful and happy life if we go out and get it.  But you have to DO something to achieve it.  Do it today!

Learn more here about personal empowerment.

What now?

Stage 1 of the Be Unstoppable online women’s empowerment Program is all about the topic of personal empowerment as a woman – making good decisions and choices, having control over what you do in your life and setting goals.

Learn how to take charge by becoming more empowered, focussing on what makes you happy and feeling in control of you and your life.

Our first stage on Personal Empowerment is free for you.

Head to to find out more and sign up today!

If you’d like to discuss any concerns or ideas you have about personal empowerment book a free discussion on today!

Photo by Andreas Fidler on Unsplash

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