Is POWER a Dirty Word?

Posted on July 7, 2016

by Rosalind Lockyer,  with Katherine Keeping  - Executive Director, and PARO Board Member

To influence change and to increase the chances that what you would like to accomplish may actually happen, you need to increase your own power, your avenues of communication and influence. For some people, oftentimes especially women, “power” is a “dirty word” but in order to make change happen, women must be empowered, and I would say, own their own power. 


Being powerful for women can mean the ability to use their influence so that positive change happens in their lives and in their community, province, or country.  

Politics, including community, organization or work politics, is about how power is used.  An important strategy to bring about positive change is to join organizations, boards, or committees, and thereby build a multitude of relationships.  PARO is a place for connecting, communication, and empowerment.  We also are helping to support and participate in two other women’s groups, Women in Politics and the Women’s Economic Council.  PARO, Women in Politics, and the Women’s Economic Council are all places for women to be empowered and to use their power.

Here is what one woman, a young leader, expressed when talking about empowerment and communication, in fact expressing how she works to make positive change, and use her power of leadership in the community.


“The Oxford Dictionary defines empowerment as ‘The process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights.’

As women, story-telling is part of our journey towards empowerment. Our ‘to do’ list may be long, and our tasks onerous. But it is with that first intake of breathe, those first words, that we begin our stories and step into our power.

Telling our stories of tragedy and grief, of triumph and joy, is a time of both acknowledging our emotions and of growing through them. It is a space of seeing our past clearly. It is an opportunity to step into what is next, and in truth to step into who you will be next.

Whether we are a writer, a speaker, or simply sharing with a friend, each time we allow ourselves to be fully seen we are empowered. We become a light within our community that can illuminate the path for those that follow.

As a woman, why does this matter? Each time you act from that place of courage and share part of your story, you are a leader. You are a guide. You are the voice of encouragement, and the embodiment of empowerment.

Each time you ask questions when another woman shares her story, you hold space for her growth. And your world expands further. The act of listening is not passive. It is an act of empowerment itself.

I am writing this as I have recently joined the Women in Politics Committee. And I have found it to be a place of the liveliest discussions. And a space where leadership, mentor-ship, and the empowerment of women is prized. I would encourage you to consider learning from this living library of knowledge.”

The Women’s Economic Council also finds ways for women’s voices to be heard, and invites your participation.  Together, we are working on building an internet portal or website that will empower women by increasing their connections and by increasing their access to resources for women and organizations involved in community economic development, including small business and social enterprise.  If you would like to participate, you can fill out this survey at  Your voice is important.


Often women come to me for guidance on leadership, usually they are already leading but not recognizing how.  I talk to them about what kind of change they would like to see happen, and how they can use their connections and leadership to grow their business and their influence.   I always reiterate that their community needs them, and their unique form of leadership.  And yes, your community needs you.