While women in our society are speaking up and speaking out at unprecedented levels, there is still a need to ‘free the strong’ in women. Many of us arrive at adulthood looking like grown-ups, but not necessarily feeling like one. We may claim authority as parents, but not be able to speak truthfully and assertively to our parents. We may find ourselves hurt by the unacceptable behavior of friends or family without being able to stop it or rise above it. And we may fail to see ourselves as valuable human beings, with options, ideas, opinions—and potential.

Worse, is that some of us learn early to foreclose our opportunities. This is directly related to the fact that, as women, we are conditioned to avoid risk, to behave in a ‘ladylike’ manner, to see ourselves as never quite good enough, to be satisfied with being less. Women have been constrained and behaviorally sculpted for centuries by social attitudes and norms, to the point that it is sometimes difficult for a woman to know who she truly is and to accept herself and the potential for growth that lies within her.

Women do not need to become anti-male, or people who do not need others in order to achieve their full potential. The objective is for every woman to become whomever she aspires to be and to recognize herself as a confident, compassionate, honorable and wise woman. Women must have the option to explore who they are, independent of the ‘rules’ of society, which teach only who you should be, not who you could be. Women must decide. And they must have full autonomy and equality within our society.