HAF Intern, UVA student
SCATTERED. For the past week, I’ve been trying to put into words, or just one word, what the four-day women’s empowerment workshop meant to me and I feel scattered just trying. All at once, the workshop was challenging, easy, meditative, analytical, goal-oriented, present-focused, relaxing, irritating, draining, and energizing. I’ve written down a lot of my thoughts already, so to make the most out of this one page I have listed quotes, questions, and observations most salient to me from the Imagine Workshop. Perhaps scattering these thoughts, with no rhyme or reason or theme or order, may present a clearer image of the conversations had during those four days than I could’ve explained in a neat narrative.
Change is good, and it needs to be constant. | “My development, without limits.” (Fatima Zahra, Moroccan participant) | I know that this workshop is focused on internal change and working on all the things that we can control within a society that is largely out of our control; however, should we believe that we always need to change to fit our institutions? Social empowerment and development should have a lens of focus that includes actionable change to take in solving structural gaps and institutional gender inequity. Both should change. | What makes your personality powerful? | “You should speak to the realest person you know, and the realest person should be yourself.” (Vic, American participant) | As a woman, you have to love yourself—fully. Loving what you do, giving value to what you do, and acknowledging that what you can’t do yet is achievable if you’re willing to be persistent. | Limiting Belief (Sexuality) #3: Sexuality should be confined to reproduction. How can we turn this around, without imposing Western, secular values and respecting cultural values? | “Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit and the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.” (Kahlil Gibran)