Empowering Women

We talk with Michelle who is passionate about sharing her tips and experiences with other women. Her mission is to empower women to take control of their finances and ultimately change their life choices for good! We chat about the importance of self-worth and how we can empower women.

How important is self-worth when partnered up with knowledge, to empowering a woman in today’s world?

It’s very important. The issue with self-worth is that it is often tied up with external factors such as societal ideals or perceptions of what society thinks of you. Your self-worth has been predetermined before you had a chance to figure it out for yourself.

As women we have a tendency to soak up those ideals and then tell ourselves that that is the truth. We tell ourselves this because these are the messages we are getting externally from all around us. It’s very easy to be pigeonholed as a female, or as somebody from an ethnic minority background, or as somebody from a specific class, education or even region that you live in.

That is why you have to start from the beginning. From you. What do YOU think about yourself? What is YOUR self-worth. It takes time to unpick what you’re your thoughts from the external factors, but getting this right first is the first step to empowerment

How we do empower Women to know their worth/value from your expertise?

The way to do it is to encourage women girls and women to always ask questions. Children know this a fundamental rule… They understand that if you know you don’t understand something, simply ask questions until you get an answer you did understand.

Now as a parent it can be really irritating sometimes, it’s very freeing to be able to just ask those questions. And as adults we don’t do that. I think from around the age of around 20 when people are considering entering the world of work, that is when that is the point where I think people stop asking questions. They look around they see the structure of work and they see the structure society has constructed and see this is how work actually works. And they just accept it.  They stop asking questions and start to justify why things are the way they are, until they believe it. So, my advice to empower women is to encourage them to always ask questions.

And I think the more questions you ask them all it’s less likely that you going to take things lying down and it’s less likely that your self-worth is going to be seen as something really.

What has driven this business idea of yours and has it stemmed from your own experience?

I started my business and three and a half years ago and I really really struggled for the first two and a half years. I struggled with getting clients. I struggled with issues around pricing. I struggled with personal debt and then there was all sorts of family money crisis going on and for a good two years I didn’t talk to anyone about it. I had deep shame around my debt and my failing business.  I think I had one friend who I felt I could talk to, but primarily I felt that I was alone with this struggle.

I was trying to put on a brave face to the whole world that everything was OK when really, I was falling apart. Slowly I started to open up to the odd person and after a while I realized that they’d all been through the same thing. As entrepreneurs, mums, daughters, partners. There were so many of us in our silos having real problems with money and attitude towards money problems with pricing ourselves problems with debt. The stigma of money and debt kept us all quiet and that is when I knew I had to do something.

And so this is what has driven my business I’d say in the sense that I want to share with the world what I have done to review and change my money stories around and I want to pass that on to future generations. And if it helps us to close the gender pay gap, be confident breadwinners and feel better about our money-making goals then I’ve done the right thing.

What leads you forward Michelle?

Having the opportunity to empower women around their money and their attitude towards money is what drives me forward. I want what I’ve been learning over the last 3 years to be public knowledge for all women. The gender pay gap doesn’t have to be our legacy. Rubbish part-time jobs doesn’t have to be our legacy. Debt doesn’t have to be our legacy. Financial empowerment and confidence is the legacy I want for women. This is what leads me forward.

What’s your opinion on The Top100womens initiative? Do you think we are leading women to a level of self-worth and understanding in sharing their stories?

Some people don’t like these initiatives, but the reality is that we still need them. And I think especially for male dominated industries we need to see that women are working there because even though these industries are male dominated it doesn’t mean that only men are there. We need to showcase them and say thank you for paving the way for future generations of women.  Young girls need to see what is possible for them. But also, young boys need to see what’s possible for women in the workplace as well. Ideally you want to get to a stage where we don’t need these initiatives anymore. But right now, they are what we need, and I think they’re a great idea.

Michelle Gyimah
Money Empowerment Educator
www.equalitypays.co.uk

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