According to statistics released by the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister, between 2014/15 there has been consistently more adult females recorded as victims of domestic abuse than adult males. Also, from 1996 to 2013, the proportion of the working age in employment has been consistently higher for males than females.

According to Motivational Speaker Sidra Jafri, dis-empowerment and empowerment begin at birth. So how do women, who may already be dis-empowered at home and in the workplace, become empowered? How do we actively empower ourselves as well as other women? And how can we help the next generation of women?

On this show, our audience had been extended to Sidra’s two sons who she had brought along to the Zee TV studios. There was a reason and intention behind bringing them to the show. It’s because men play a big part in empowering women. Sidra explained that challenges we face as women, we face with our fathers, husbands and sons. So she decided to bring her two sons into her world so that she could show them that she is more than the word ‘mother’.

Emma Watson famously said in her UN Speech “men – I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender equality is your issue, too.” Sidra reiterated this but also went further to explain that we need to teach our sons how to respect women so that they value women as human beings who have their own fears and challenges outside of the ‘mother’ realm.

We focused on how to raise our sons because ultimately they are the next generation to instil gender equality values into. So by bringing her sons to the studios, Sidra was able to say ‘hey look – I am more than just a mother, I am also this, this and this’.

Many women can feel disempowered once their sons and daughters have grown up. One of our callers told us her story about looking after her children but now they do nothing to help her. Sidra explained that society treats children as a return of investment and therefore become confused about whether to focus their energies on the past or on the future? She stated that we should recognise our children as a chain connected to us and look towards the future. Remember the intention and that the feeling of value comes from knowing your children live a happy life.

This led me on to asking how you take yourself out of the victim position to victor. Sidra stated that you have to recognise that every decision you make is based on choice. We always have a choice. And in my opinion, exercising the freedom of choice is empowerment in itself. Making decisions and grasping the situation is empowering because you’re leading the way.

Sometimes, it can feel as though you don’t have a choice, though. One example of this is if you are in an abusive relationship. For Sidra, you are in an abusive relationship if your own sense of judgment and decision-making is not based on your own thoughts, because this means that you are not empowered and are carrying out your actions on someone else’s command. So grasping the ability to make your own decisions is one way to empower yourself.

Women not only need empowerment in their homes but also in the workplace. Sometimes, women can be their own worst enemies, what with competition, cattiness, and general playground politics. However, ‘strong women build each other up. They appreciate each other and they play on each other’s strengths’. The following Q&A between Sidra and I will hopefully help you with workplace problems you may be facing:

 Q. Are you working in a competitive environment or an industry seen as competitive?

A. The only person you’re in competition with is yourself. When you have the mind-set that ‘as long as I try my best’ and ‘it is in my destiny’, you will get what you want.

For example: two people are competing for a promotion at work. One decides to work extremely hard and believes they’ll get it if it’s meant to be. The other wants to bring their competitor down in order to get the promotion. According to Sidra, the person with the highest belief will win.

Q. How do you overcome someone who is trying to compete with you?

A. Don’t engage in the competition and let them be. Excellence is the best way to overcome competition and the only way to be excellent is by focusing on you.

Q. If you are being constantly criticised at work, how do you put people’s personal feelings aside in order to be professional?

A. Have a personal ‘Code of Honour’ book. Write down five or six statements about yourself so that you know who you are. That way, no matter what anyone says to you, you know that they are just people’s opinions towards you rather than who you really are. The more you know about who you are, the less other people’s opinions will mean to you.

Q. What do you do if your boss is unhappy with you?

A. Instead of panicking, ask what is happening in your boss’s life. Is their boss pressurising them and therefore, in turn, you’re receiving wrath? It’s all about empathy and compassion. Only then can you realise the bigger picture. If you focus on you, you can’t see everything that’s happening around you.

And if all of that hasn’t helped you, Sidra left you all with some top advice:

Ask yourself: ‘what do I appreciate about my job?’ Empowerment means focusing on your blessing and appreciating what you have. If you’re really disempowered right now and are feeling negative, write down a list of twenty things that you appreciate about your life.

If you have any questions you would like to ask Sidra about this topic, email zeecompanion@zeetv.co.uk. If you liked Sidra’s top advice about recognising and appreciating your blessings, our next show together is on ‘Real Wealth’ where we’ll be focusing on this! Tune-in to our Inspiration Fridays with Sidra Jafri and Anila Dhami on Zee Companion, Zee TV.