Chicken Soup For The Soul's Amy Newmark Shares Her Best Advice For Female Empowerment

"Trying these new things will make you feel proud of yourself, and you’ll say, 'If I can do that, then I can do that other thing …'"

When author, editor-in-chief, and publisher of the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series Amy Newmark was thinking of ideas for the company's next book, The Empowered Woman just made sense. The title didn't just sound good, it felt good — and right. "I think everything we do at Chicken Soup for the Soul is about empowering people — women and men and kids, too. Because the stories we publish help people to use the tools they already have within themselves to become more confident, more courageous, and truer to themselves," she told A Plus. 

"I felt an even stronger sense of purpose and need for this book in light of all the news events about women coming forward to tell their stories about male chauvinism and sexual harassment" Newmark continued. "I was so impressed with all the ways that our writers empowered themselves, whether it was some little everyday thing like changing a tricky lightbulb instead of waiting for a husband, or whether it was something huge like suing a boss for sexual harassment and winning in court." 

But feeling empowered isn't just about "fighting male chauvinism." Newmark believes female empowerment can take many forms. It can even mean being brave enough to recognize the ways you don't feel empowered and challenging yourself to work on them. Newmark is the first to admit this. "These stories reminded me [of] the areas where I still need to work on myself," she said. "For example, the stories about body image — and the lesson not to let body image issues keep you from participating in fun activities with your friends or family — is something I need to hear regularly." 

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The stories also encouraged Newmark to reflect on her past and recognize how the painful experiences when she wasn't treated right, just because she was a woman, shaped her into the person she is today. "It's great that we can move past those annoying events, but it's still good to know they happened and be vigilant," she said. "I need to make sure that kind of thing doesn't happen in my world now, where I can have an influence over my own workplace." 

To fulfill that mission, Newmark chose to donate proceeds from the book to Dress For Success, a non-profit organization that is committed to empowering women to achieve economic independence through providing network support, professional attire, and development tools. "If anyone is out there at the grassroots level empowering women, it's them," Newmark explained. "... We love the work they do. It's not just the outfits that people donate ... to help women get dressed for their job interviews, although that alone is an amazing undertaking. But Dress for Success also helps the women practice for their interviews, helps them use the Internet to research the companies, and helps them after they get the jobs, too." To further support the organization, Newmark encourages every woman to look through her closet for a nice interview outfit she doesn't need and donate it to Dress for Success. There are many donation locations throughout the United States, as well as stores that accept donations on its behalf. 

As the not-so-old saying goes, "Empowered women empower women." That ethos fuels not only The Empowered Woman as a book, but each story within it. While each story is different in its experience of empowerment, they all share similarly inspiring conclusions. "So whether you're forcing yourself to go ziplining ... or you're singing karaoke when you never thought that you would, trying these new things will make you feel proud of yourself," Newmark noted. "And you'll say, 'If I can do that, then I can do that other thing …'" 

Editor's Note: Chicken Soup for the Soul is the parent company of A Plus.

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