Ripples of Empowerment

This article is by Anna Bruen, a WFAN Board Member, on why she believes WFAN’s work is effective. AnnaBruen-e1389807486935

I’ve noticed that when women come together and have the opportunity to learn from each other, listen, respectfully challenge, and share, then they later create these opportunities for others.

I experience this process each time I attend a WFAN board meeting or WFAN conference. I leave feeling more capable and excited to engage with individuals who hold differing viewpoints and perspectives, because I have a sense that “we’re all in this together.” We’re all trying to positively influence ourselves and the world around us – our consumption trends, our businesses, our communities, our families, our friends. I remember this when I listen to presentations about Karen Washington’s work in New York and PAN’s work in the Midwest, and when I speak with aspiring farmers, farmers, landowners, and life-long students who are working in their own way to do something good.

We are all creating interesting and valuable activity that supports the creation of a healthy and just food system. And the fact that we sometimes approach it from different angles and for different reasons is a strength. It’s a strength because it means that more people are likely to find “an in road” that resonates with them, for participating in creating a healthy and just food system. It’s a strength because it provides an opportunity to have a dialogue that may refine our own intentions and activities. It’s a strength because it provides opportunities to interact with each other that challenge us to flex our muscles of authority, inclusivity, and compassion.

Each time I leave a WFAN event, I leave with more experience in a space that intentionally fosters an empowering environment. I’m convinced that this experience effects how I talk with both women and men and how I approach my own work and activities, hoping to foster increasingly equitable environments for people to live and work in. In this way, holding one event in which even one woman feels empowered creates ripples of empowerment; and working for women's empowerment has an impact that continues to build on itself.