Inspiring Stories: Female empowerment starts at home

As part of our series of inspiring stories, we're talking to women that have made an impact on us and have powerful stories to tell about female empowerment. Africa, also known as The Vitamin D Project on Instagram, let's us know about how her grandma empowered her & how she deals with PND.
Africa The Vitamin D Project influencer with two daughters- What does female empowerment mean to you
For me, it means "girl code" in its purest form. It transcends race, class, education and location. A genuine understanding that first and foremost above all those sub-categories, we are women first and should where possible create platforms for one another.

- How will you teach your daughters to be advocates of female empowerment?
It starts at home. I don't really believe in "healthy competition". I think it creates the mindset that there is only room at the top for a few and so our children (if we have sons in the future also) are raised to encourage one another, find genuine compliments, speak up when something isn't fair, stop and pause to help when the other is struggling. Those are the qualities we encourage from a young age and we believe those are the founding qualities of advocacy.

- What are your top tips to feel empowered as a woman and/or mother?
It's easier said than done, but don't compare. And be as forgiving with yourself as you'd like people to be with your children.

- You've spoken about postnatal depression before; why do you think it's important to be open and honest about this?

I have a lot of kind people in my life that comment on how lovely our family unit is. I would hate to be a factor in someone else not feeling worthy and so it's imperative to me that I'm just as open and honest about my struggles as I am my successes.

- What support network do you have to help you deal with PND?
My husband and my daughters without a doubt. My husband is a constant source of strength, support and encouragement even at my strongest mentally, but the way he swoops in when I'm at a low is nothing short of courageous and my daughters see that and I truly hope that will lay the foundations for just how supportive their life partners should be.

- Who is the most empowering woman in your life?
My maternal Grandma. As a white teen, born and raised in a tiny town in West Yorkshire, she fought oppression at the highest form to fall in love and raise a family with my Grandad, a Windrush immigrant from the West Indies. They had 3 children before she was 21 and it was that year that their entire family was in a horrific house fire -my grandma staying until the very end to ensure all of her children had been safely thrown out of the window and caught by my Grandad. All the while, my Grandma was engulfed in flames -when it was her time to jump, she was met with concrete and shattered both of her hips. Her hospital stay spanned over a year, leaving her completely deaf with head to toe burns and a tough relationship with her children as they had to spend time in care whilst she recovered. My Grandma went on to raise her five mixed-race children as a single mother facing poverty, racism, judgement and of course the unimaginable mental traumas post fire. She has been a constant source of strength and guidance in my life, doing everything with love, grace and integrity.

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