Anything Is Possible: The Evolution of Women’s Empowerment
This month, many women may have missed one of the most important recent developments related to women’s empowerment: the Wonder Woman movie. Some may believe Wonder Woman is just another superhero movie. Others may focus on the fact the movie was directed by Patty Jenkins, who broke the box office record for a female director. However, Wonder Woman is so much more. The success of the Wonder Woman is a powerful symbol of how women’s empowerment has been fully adopted and embraced by our culture.
In order to fully appreciate Wonder Woman, you will need to look back at her history. She was created by psychologist and writer William Moulton Marston back in 1941. For his time, Marston had some extremely progressive and radical ideas about feminism, relationships, and women’s role in society. By creating a character with strength equal to Superman, his goal was to give young girls a new feminine archetype, one that was completely equal to her male counterpart. Wonder Woman not only introduced the idea of women’s empowerment into popular culture, she helped to shape the ethical and moral values of many young boys and girls over the last 75 years.
What is women’s empowerment? According to the World Bank, “Empowerment is the process of increasing the capacity of individuals or groups to make choices and to transform those choices into desired actions and outcomes.” Therefore, essentially, women’s empowerment means having equal influence and control over social, political, and economic issues. It is the power of women to be change agents. Simply put, it is the power, ability, and knowledge that a woman can do anything. There are many women and men who get credit for the advancement of gender equality throughout history. Wonder Woman is an iconic symbol of their efforts, and how women’s empowerment has been embraced by our culture and ingrained in our psyche.
Women’s empowerment is fundamentally about ensuring that women have the same rights to control, influence, and benefit as their male counterparts. It is being able to serve their own interests in a self-determined way and acting on their own authority. In the United States, the first National Women’s Rights Conference was held in 1850 in Worcester, Massachusetts. By 1920, women had the right to vote. Over time, women have gained rights and discrimination protections in education, the workplace, the military, and in housing. Many things that we take for granted today, such as the right and access to birth control, are a direct result of the women’s empowerment movement.
While Wonder Woman is a fictional character, the power of mythology and storytelling in shaping both our cultural ideals and reflecting our values cannot be understated. While today she may not come across a particularly revolutionary., Wonder Woman offers an example of a strong identity to young girls. She has introduced the ideals of female strength and self-reliance to both girl and boy readers.