Woman writingI never used to be what you’d call an outspoken person. In high school, when my English teacher suggested I read one of my poems aloud in class, I said, “No way!” Early in my career I wrote a well-received research report, but at the press con­ference I actually hid behind a colleague. At dinner parties, I dreaded the prospect of someone raising a controversial subject. I had strong opinions, but not the nerve to say them out loud.

Women are wonderfully diverse, but many of us have one thing in com­mon: We struggle to find our voice. Finding our voice is essential to becom­ing our authentic selves, and is especially important for women and girls who are trapped by violence, poverty, and rigid gender stereotypes.

It’s also how we transform society. As women, every advance we’ve made is the direct result of speaking up when we weren’t supposed to. One wom­an stands and speaks her truth, then another, and another until, together, we become too loud to ignore.

Finding our voice starts with believing we matter just as much as the next person—just as much as men—and our truth deserves to be heard. We realize we have the right to our own opinion, even if someone else doesn’t like it. We learn to create a support network, then to help others find their own voice. Being heard is great, but creating change for the next generation is like win­ning the lottery.

These days, I speak up much more than I used to. I've read my poetry in public, been interviewed on live television—I even sing in a band! Best of all, I help other women tell their own stories.

In the first issue of SHE magazine, read how your support for the Canadian Women’s Foundation is helping vulnerable women and girls to find their voice and move out of violence, out of poverty, and into confidence. You’ll also read how you’re helping to create broader change.

I hope you find inspiration for your own journey, too. 

Poster on speaking up

Read more about women’s leadership, empowered decisions and creating connections in our magazine, SHE

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