Mari Lyn Henry, the VP of Programming at League of Professional Theater Women, talks about women's empowerment especially in countries like Afghanistan, and the huge role that creative fields can play in that empowerment. She is also a teacher and a life coach. She has co-authored “How to be A Working Actor.” The book is widely acclaimed and has been on the shelves since 27 years! It is in its 5th edition. She talks about empowerment of women. She very aptly says that empowerment is all about self belief. It is the knowledge that there is a beautiful quality within you – very unique and important that should be showcased to all. You have to bring out that skill to the center stage. You have to make that skill presentable on the world stage. She gives an example of storytelling. A woman could have a special talent for that. And she can monetize it by planning well. She can write them down or develop them into screenplays or scripts. Anything that will give an economic edge to her skill. But, it will not be easy. And entry into commercial space is always fraught with its own risks. But true empowerment is when a woman believes that she has it in her to achieve something out of that skill even though the path is strewn with difficulties.
She sees the same happening among actors. Most actors feel powerless, sort of like puppets in the hands of their casting directors or agents. They need to be made aware of their power as well. At the League of Professional Theater Women, she has worked with many powerful women. But power is not something bad. These women don’t look down upon others they see as powerless. They help them discover their power within. She says that it is this sisterhood that she and the other women at the League endorse. They want no competition, no rivalry, no antagonism, but a way forward by which women stand by each other so that more and more of them find their place in the sun.
She sees a great challenge for women in Afghanistan and other developing nations. This is because, these women have been repressed for a very long time. They are unable to do what they want to do. She feels empathy for them and their effort. She feels empowerment for them can come through initiatives like education, computer literacy, exposure to social media and creative media. She feels that online tutorials, coaching and reading material can go a long way in empowering them. She also feels that financial backing is required for them to stand on their feet. And hopefully larger Corporations and aid agencies will step forward.
Do see the video for the entire interview filled with insights.
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