The desire for power and control

The desire for power and control is a fundamental human impulse, and its manifestation can be as varied as the individuals who experience it. Historically, power dynamics have been skewed against women, with patriarchal structures limiting their roles and autonomy. However, in contemporary society, there’s been a gradual, albeit uneven, shift. This article explores the nuances of the desire for power and control from a woman’s perspective, recognizing it as a multifaceted phenomenon that encompasses personal, professional, and societal realms.

1. Understanding the Desire for Power and Control

At its core, the desire for power and control stems from a need for agency — the ability to make decisions that affect one’s own life and to influence the outcome of events. For women, this desire is often influenced by historical contexts where their choices were constrained and voices muted. Achieving power and control can be seen as a means to gain respect, independence, and the ability to shape one’s destiny.

2. Personal Autonomy and Self-Mastery

For many women, power starts with self-mastery — the control over one’s body, choices, and psychological space. In the realm of personal autonomy, it’s about making decisions that align with one’s values and desires, without undue influence from societal expectations or personal relationships. It’s also about owning one’s sexuality, desires, and the right to express them freely and safely.

3. Professional Ambitions and the Corporate Ladder

In the professional world, women’s quest for power and control is often characterized by the pursuit of leadership positions. Breaking the glass ceiling and achieving career success allows for direct influence over the professional environment and contributes to changing the narrative around women’s capabilities in leadership roles.

4. Societal Influence and Community Leadership

The desire for power and control extends into the public sphere, where women strive for roles in politics, activism, and community leadership. Such positions enable women to enact change on a larger scale, addressing systemic issues and advocating for policies that benefit marginalized groups, including women themselves.

5. Economic Independence

Financial control is a significant aspect of power. Economic independence enables women to live on their terms, free from financial coercion. It allows for choices about lifestyle, education, and professional ventures and is a buffer against economic abuse, which remains a tool of control in many societies.

6. Emotional Autonomy

Emotional autonomy is about having control over one’s emotional life, including the freedom to express emotions without repression and the strength to set boundaries in relationships. It involves discerning emotional manipulation and fostering connections that are respectful and mutually empowering.

7. The Complexity of Power in Relationships

Within intimate relationships, the dynamics of power and control can be complex. Healthy relationships require a balance where both parties have equal footing. However, the desire for control can become unhealthy if it stems from insecurity, leading to dominance that undermines partnership and mutual respect.

8. Power in Parenthood

For women who are mothers, the desire for power translates into control over parenting styles and family decisions. It is about creating a nurturing environment for their children while balancing the diverse demands of parenthood, often advocating for their families in educational and social settings.

9. Power as a Response to Vulnerability

Often, women’s desire for power and control can be a direct response to vulnerability or previous disempowerment. It can be a defense mechanism or a proactive strategy to prevent future subjugation, ensuring that one’s voice and agency are not overlooked.

10. The Intersectionality of Power

The desire for power among women is not monolithic; it is shaped by intersectional factors like race, class, sexual orientation, and ability. Recognizing these layers is essential to understanding how the quest for power and control can vary dramatically across different societal segments.

11. The Ethics of Power

Navigating the desire for power necessitates ethical considerations. It’s about striving for control without impinging on the rights and freedoms of others. Ethical power is exercised with responsibility, empathy, and a recognition of one’s impact on the community and the world at large.


The desire for power and control from a woman’s perspective is deeply interwoven with the quest for equality and self-determination. It is a reaction to historical disenfranchisement and a move towards a future where women’s voices are heard, their choices respected, and their contributions valued. The pathways to power are varied, each with its challenges and triumphs, but all are part of the larger narrative of women’s evolving role in society.