Making it Safer to Grow Up Female
I sit at my desk, staring out into the small greenish farm that surrounds my office, and think of what I have always envisioned for my life, my community, and the world.
Is it unnatural for a woman to think this way? Rather than to think of how to capture a good husband, I am here thinking about the world? My mind tells me… My mind is playing games with me again. How could I forget I am living in a patriarchal system? Wake up Emilia, you are in the office.
But I dare to think more and remember that growing up as a female I faced a lot of challenges. The talk and conviction about female genital mutilation was the real deal. I feel like a winner, but there is still a lot to be done .This has only been made possible because of the training from Girls’ Power Initiative (GPI) and encouragement from online communities like WorldPulse and free2run.
Where the color of her eyes will determine the color of her dress because we are tired of pink and blue…some of us don’t like those colors anyway. I see a world where women will be encouraged to be inventive and their inventions documented.
I see marriages as an inspiration, not a burden that scares me and makes me wonder if I am about to imprison my mind as well as sacrifice my dreams and aspirations to be a good mother and wife.
I come in every Sunday to the “safe space” of Girls’ Power Initiative (GPI) as a Facilitator. I see all the different faces and I remember my years of training and know that my efforts in giving back to these young girls the same skills I gained will not be in vain.
I take my mind back to all the stories and talks I have had with girls and women as their Counselor to assist them in healing from sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and gender based violence. I think of their tears, low tones, and cries, and me being able to hold their hands in discussion, in solidarity and strength to show we are all in this together. This memory gives me more inspiration, as well as a burning fire of knowledge that there is more to be done.
I see a strong voice in Africa and Nigeria as women roar and roar loud in writing the folk songs, tales of women that bring to reality our saying “When you educate a girl, you educate the nation.” I see women using the new methods of interaction to share our accomplishments, strengths, and challenges, as well as to draw support from each other.
In my own little way, as a counselor, a facilitator, and a dreamer, I create peace and change lives through my work. I do not intend to stop anytime soon.