I created the DVF Awards to honor and support extraordinary women who have the courage to fight, the power to survive and the leadership to inspire; women who have transformed the lives of others through their commitment, hard work and leadership. This year’s nominees work to fight arranged marriages, educate children affected by war, raise awareness of sexual assault and create empowering spaces for young girls. These are women who truly inspire me; helping them and giving them visibility is an honor.
Decades ago, when I started to work, I became the independent woman I wanted to be through a little dress, and through that little dress, I gave confidence to other women to be the women they wanted to be. Along the way, as I empowered myself, I knew it was my duty to empower other women.
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By being honest about who and what you are, you can inspire and give other women the confidence and strength they need to be the woman they want to be.
What would you think if I told you that there are some mornings where I wake up and I feel like a loser? You might not believe me, but it’s true! Next time you wake up and you feel down on yourself, remember that Diane von Furstenberg, and every other woman in the world, feels that way sometimes, too. And you know what? I bet you’ll feel better.
That’s why I like to share my experiences—both the successes and the failures. People relate most with your insecurities and your struggles because those struggles are often what give you strength. So many of the women who have received DVF Awards have struggled unfathomably, but they have always turned that struggle into strength.
I have never met a woman who is not strong. However, we have a lot of roadblocks that prevent us from allowing our strength to come out. Sometimes it can be a brother, a husband, a religion, a circumstance—or sometimes it is just ourselves. But we are incredibly strong and incredibly powerful. And I have always believed that when you empower a woman, you change the world.
So let’s not be afraid of our own strength. When push comes to shove, when something really bad happens, you won’t think twice about using it. The challenge is to think about how you can use that strength to your advantage—and to help other women—every single day.
Diane von Furstenberg created the DVF Awards to recognize and support women who are working to transform the lives of other women. Public voting for the People’s Voice Award winner runs through March 27th. The 2016 DVF Awards will be presented on April 7th.