Did You Know You Were Empowering Women?

Have you ever found it hard to relate to those amazing influential women, the ones glamorously represented in the media? Very successful and slightly unreachable, up there on top of that pedestal. We are glad to see them, we aspire to be them and we are happy for their success. But after the video ends, or the social feed gets boring, you come back down to rejoin your own life and left wondering, what am I doing? Have I made a difference? Do I empower women? 

Personally my immediate thoughts are: "No. I do not. I am me and not the next Michelle Obama, oh well." 

But if I left my thoughts there, this blog would come to an abrupt end. It wouldn't serve it's purpose, to explain why you've been empowering women all along and you hadn't even noticed.

Take Away the Glamour and Press

First let's start with a couple of definitions. To empower someone means to give them the means to achieve something, for example to become stronger or more successful. To inspire someone means to fill them with the urge or ability to do or feel something.

There is a thin line between empowering and inspiring. If you take away the glamour, the press and the social media, I think about my mother as a champion of both inspiring and empowering women. 

My mother grew up at a time when her generation was changing the rules. My grandmother followed the traditions passed down from mother to child, living as a Greek Orthodox Cypriot, in a small village in Cyprus. It was normal for a woman to be introduced to men when you became marriage material, and this was known as "broxenia". But my mother did not want to have her life chartered by a man. She fell in love and had a family her own way. 

My mother was very young when her career aspirations were put on hold. Her first child was actually twins, and then later two more children made up her family of four daughters. At that time, juggling children and working a successful business with my father, was all too consuming. Through it all this only motivated her desire to restart her career.

It was ten years later when she started college in the evenings, training to get back into dentistry. I still remember how keen she was whenever we lost a tooth. She eventually volunteered at the local community center to get work experience in the industry. Finally, she bravely took on a part-time role at a dental clinic as a dental nurse. As a mother myself, I think this is inspiring enough, but she didn't stop there. Next she trained to do surgical implant procedures, and so began a series of personal successes. 

How she did all this, whilst raising four impressionable daughters, seeing us through education and all our weddings, I am in awe.

In 2010, my mother was getting recognised and she won a major accolade at the 'Private Dentistry Awards' - "The Most Outstanding Individual of the Year". 

Just Like an Olympian

Inspiring yes, but my mother didn't know she was. She powered behind goal after goal, just like an Olympian and kept on evolving. Eventually, my mother branched into aesthetics and the accolades kept coming. At this stage, now a grandmother with ten grandchildren, she was showing the younger generation that you can fulfill your ambitions if you are determined enough. From dentistry she has now transitioned into skin aesthetics, and has successfully launched her own skin aesthetics clinic.

Here is a woman, not famous or well known, who has inspired many mothers to believe that you can have a family and a successful career. She has empowered two generations of women in her family to believe, that they can be whoever they want to be. Her success is our success and she has shown us that the only barrier in life is your self-belief. 

Joanna Koussertari has empowered women, by showing them what is possible and never giving up.

Thank you mum for making me believe in myself.


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