A Journey Toward Healing the World: Women’s Empowerment
(Doctoral dissertation, Pacifica Graduate Institute 2014)
Is it possible for a woman to be both empowered in the professional world and happy? This research explores the question from a phenomenological hermeneutic perspective, utilizing the method of narrative analysis to examine the one-on-one interviews that were central to my study. Focusing on the narrative voice of the women participants differentiates my research from previous explorations of this issue.
My participants were among the first American women to infiltrate the male dominated workforce and advance toward significant professional empowerment. My findings suggest that fear-based survival mode are keeping women who outwardly seem empowered from an inner feeling of empowerment and thus from happiness. The participants spoke of being called to greater fulfillment in their lives and recognized that conscious active responsibility would be necessary to satisfy those needs, though in many cases it remained unclear whether they would decide to act upon the realization or not. It is of great importance that we pay attention to such women’s interpretation of their experiences.
Clinical psychologists need to attend to these findings that are critical to psychological health and reflect deeply on how to help their female clients find the courage to move forward. Since a healthy society relies on women rising, owning their experience, balancing their priorities and having access to steps for health, it is clear that women’s emotional, mental, physical and spiritual health would be improved through access to therapeutic modalities specific to unconditional love, integration, and conscious awareness designed to access the individual’s inner sage and as yet unrealized potentialities.