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Real Women are NEVER quitters


A couple of years ago, in order to polish our conversational skills, our German teacher asked each student to describe what he/she wanted to do after the course got over. Of the 22 stories, one made me sit straight and feel very angry with the speaker (an aspiring engineer) whose plan was to migrate to Germany. When asked the reason, his answer was, ‘das system functioniert nicht’- the system doesn’t function.

I was not bitter because I thought he was lying or exaggerating; our system is indeed one with a million holes. What made me bitter is the solution he found: to blame and flee.

(A funny diversion: a few later I found a poem written by him at one of my books - a sign of some affection for me. It became a great joke as friends started teasing me – “you attracted a quitter!”)

However, that classmate of mine isn’t the only one I have met who is ready to quit at the drop of a hat. I have seen hundreds others like him and many of them are women as well. It hurts me every time when I see these women – young, educated and from not so underprivileged families, are just looking for a chance to flee at the first given opportunity to US/UK or any other richer country and settle down. Their stories and languages may be different (“no opportunities here”, “my parents want me to get married”, “people are narrow-minded” etc, etc), but the message is the same: das system functioniert nicht.

What a waste of youth and resources, I feel when I come across such stories, ‘out in the field there are women whose bodies are full of scars, who have children to feed and no money, who are abandoned both by their husband and parents and are yet not quitting the fight. 6 months ago I met a 65-year old lady in Calcutta whose sons had thrown her out after she wrote her will and gave away all her property to them. She had sciatica and walked with pain, was living under the staircase in a neighbor’s house and sold incense sticks door to door. ‘I have never begged and will never do it, Ma,’ she told me. I want to live and die with dignity’).

And here, women half their age, with their parents beside them, a university degree to help them find decent work, are ready to take the first flght out of the country. Because, the system doesn’t function.

The question is, whose job is it to make the system work? Is it not our job? Isn’t there more dignity in trying to mend your shoes when they develop holes, than go begging from someone else? Above all, if you demand equal space in the society, shouldn’t you be the equal bearer of the responsibility to right the wrong?

Yes, seeking support is crucial, so are building networks, forge partnerships and make friends, But the first step to make the system work should be taken by us. After all it’s our country, our society. So, instead of being a quitter, let us be a sticker.

Let us stay put and try to make the system work. Because, real women NEVER quit!.



sibongile zgambo's picture


I feel you Stella, real women are never quitters. We can do much better in our countries and change the system too. All we need is to hang on for a while no matter what happens.. No sweet without sweat. Life can be tough at times but the sun will always shine no matter how long it takes.
Keep up the good work.

Stella Paul's picture


Dear Sibo

You read it so right! It takes more than personal comfort to be a leader and inspire others. Also, self help is the best way to earn respect from others. As I mentioned, we need not alienate ourselves, and we can work in close association with other societies, groups and people. But we should not think about packing our bags and leave just because there are problems. When we do that, we are in a way insulting the sacrifice of all those women who are behind bar for supporting a cause.

Love and thanks for reading!

Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

sibongile zgambo's picture

you just right

Hey you are so right. Could i have your personal email address, i would like to talk and learn more from your life on india and your work, if you don't mind.

Stella Paul's picture

of course!

Dear Sibo

I would love that!

here goes; email - (you can use this to search me on facebook, linkedin and pretty much across any other social media forum too)
I am also on twitter as stellasglobe

Will wait to hear from you!

Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

sibongile zgambo's picture


Will write to you soon, just wanna know about your work in India how is it like. My email is

Am a news reporter, presenter and producer of programmes, also do documentaries, news anchor at a private radio station in Malawi know as Zodiak Broadcasting Station. You can just visit on the website, you will hear my voice there loud and clear giving you updates of news. Right now am at work and the time in my country is exactly four o'clock in the afternoon. Hey stella guess what, tomorrow 25th September my birthday. Wish me luck.
Later, much love

Stella Paul's picture

Check your mail

Happy birthday! and check your mailbox, there will be a mail wishing you more :)

Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

AchiengNas's picture

YES Stella!!

You are very right dear sister. We need to stick in our countries and serve our own people.
You have given me the ground to say something to our leaders in Uganda. "Please employ on merit; civil servants, government, non government organizations, companies. Our youths (job seekers) get frustrated after graduating and when they realize they are wasting their potential (das system functioniert nich), they move to other countries.
It is time for technical know how (skills) not technical know who (relationships).Back here it takes a serious organization/company, to employ on merit (I was employed on merit). It's worsened by our curriculum that trains job seekers and not job creators. It is of recent that the youths are realizing to make things happen on their own/creating jobs.
I have always wondered why larger countries have developed rapidly yet my small one RICH in resources is not progressing faster; we own the second largest late in the whole world, we have the source of the Nile, we now have oil, we have so many other minerals, a lot to do with tourism...
Instead of the government enforcing/motivating the locals to invest in their lands, foreign investors have been given priority and the poor are evicted from their lands rapidly.
There is need for mass sensitization in regards to this topic (das system functioniert nich) sister, advise to both our leaders and the youths.

Thank you so much for sharing this Stella.


I believe everybody has the potential to live a better life. Given the Opportunity, Education and Motivation ANYONE can become someone admirable. Nobody is a NOBODY, everybody is SOMEBODY.

Stella Paul's picture

Understand and agree

Dear Beatrice

I can sense your frustration and its absolutely justified. I also agree with you: those who we trusted to lead us are only letting us down. For them, leadership may mean sitting at the ministry, or at the opposition bench within the parliament. In truth, they are causing brain drain and distrust among the International donor community. Last year I attended a meeting with the EU environment minister and a senior UNFCC member. I was curious to see why developed nations are bargaining so hard on climate fund (the money that would go to poorer nations to fight climate change) and it was there I read all these documents that reflect how little the countries trust our leadership! Yes, bad governance is ruining us both internally and internationally. And this is why we need to fight hard for change and get better governance.

Thanks so much for this message!

Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

amiesissoho's picture

Knowing the motive

Another thought provoking piece. People who know the what the ultimate motive is stick to making a difference and finding ways out. Thanks I always look forward to reading your articles, they are full of ways we have to face challenges.


Stella Paul's picture

Let us hope

Dear Amie

Thank you so much for the kind words. I really want all of women like you and our other sisters here to talk more and share more of their struggle and success, so they can inspire others. Here, in past 2 years alone, I have seen many young women adopting a 'beg borrow or steal' mindset to escape to a western country. Yes, everyone has a right to a better life, but our society needs its educated lot to stay on ground and change it from within.


Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

usha kc's picture

Stella,, I agree with your

Stella,, I agree with your views . Here in Nepal young,educated has same feeling to leave the nation and go to another developed country.
even some of professors,researchers go abroad for higher education taking governmental fund and they never return back to home country. So how can this make the country developed and functional??????

nice piece dear thank you for sharing here.

Stella Paul's picture

I know!

Dear Usha

Yes,we have the same problem. I have a friend who is from Kathmandu. In 2007 he got a government grant and went to Delaware, USA, for postgraduate degree. In 2008, his sister did the same. They both finished their courses in 2009.They know they will find jobs also,as a foreign degree is always in huge demand. But they are not willing to return at all. The boy is working in a library and the girl is just waiting to marry a non residential Nepali or Indian. Is this why the government gave them the grant? to just migrate to another country? They got what 90%students in Nepal can't. And yet they have no sense of responsibility to return and share their skills or knowledge. This is very upsetting!

Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

zoneziwoh's picture

Indications of Laziness

Hello dear Stella, you dont know much i am happy reading this article. this is very truthful though many people might pretend to accept but you are absolutely right about this. Such behaviour, if carefully traced are influenced by eers, family and the general misconception of nothing good is coming out of this region. "and by the way - i dont have the time , to be patient ...etc " these are always the issues - which ends up leaving the weak minds frustrated and confused.

once more, many thanks. it is a lovely article. gracias

Stay Blessed



Facebook:Zoneziwoh Mbondgulo Wondieh

Twitter | Instagram: @ZoFem

Stella Paul's picture

Gracious indeed

Gracious Senorita, for being my good words messenger :)
If you scan EU newspapers, every now and then, you come up with news of truckfull of illegal migrants being caught. 98% of times they are from Punjab - the richest state in India - the only state where they have no beggar on the street. In EU they work as farmhands,waitresses and in dairies. Now, that's a job they could have done right in Punjab!

I have friends who have gone abroad to study. And strangely, they have enrolled into universities that have next to nil global ranking, and hardly any help therefore. In India we have far better institutions!

You are so right to say that family has a say in that. I do feel women - the elder ones, can play a role in stopping it as well.

Take care!

Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

gingerhooper's picture

Best Placed

Great article. I am on the same wavelength here! I think that we are best placed to change the system which we know best which is more than likely the one we are born into. I have many friends who have moved to the UK also expecting streets paved with gold and have become isolated and depressed when they find this is not the case!
I however speak as a privileged voice and want to just say hats off to all who fight and survive in the most difficult of circumstances when running would seem the easiest option - das system functioniert nicht BUT we are the key to changing the system! Keep up the fight!

Stella Paul's picture

I know you know

Dear Laura

Yes, that burgeoning population of migrants in your country must have shown you many such instances of castle-in-the-air crumbling down. And I am not at all making a sweeping statement. There indeed are times when migrating is the only way out because it is the only way you can save your life (take the case of Taslima Nasrin - the Bangladeshi writer, for example),or when you get a good job that gives you a good opportunity to contribute to your host society and earn well, to contribute to your home country as well.

But its really time to take a hard look at those who are more of habitual escapists.(btw, most govts are coming up with strict ant-migration policies to stop this influx. That is not going to work because as long as the mindset isn't changed people will come in, either legally, or illegally )

Thanks a ton for reading!

Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

Akech's picture

Hey Stella, I love the way

Hey Stella,

I love the way you express yourself. Your writing skill is impeccable. Women indeed are not quitters!

Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.

Stella Paul's picture


Dear Akech

Its the generosity in you that's speaking. I am just an okay kind of writer. But your words do inspire me to be much, much better one and share more stories. Thanks!

Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

Osai's picture

Re: Real women are not quitters

Hi Stella,

This really got to me. At some point in time, I was just fed up with the whole system and I wanted to flee. But guess what, I went for my masters in the UK and came back home. Many people, thought I was crazy. At some point..I thought I was crazy too especially when things didn't work out for awhile and I was jobless for over 10 months! But I faced my fears and worked had to find my own opportunities in the confusion, no light, no road, no money etc system.

I now work to help others find their space and opportunities. I encourage everyone to travel and try new things because your world gets expanded and you learn tolerance. However, I love my home, my country, my continent and would want changes to occur for good. I also want to be part of that change.


Twitter: @livingtruely

Stella Paul's picture

Its worth it

Dear Osai

A minute ago (quite a coincident!) I was reading your post for VOF 3, and I was thinking 'she knows it all, spots it all!' The next logical thought would be, 'she is the best one to work on them!'. And now I am reading this comment and I am even more convinced that you indeed are the one.

If it is any consolation, I too am officially jobless now. Yes, I do write for a some magazines, but they are niche magazines (as against the hot selling ones) and their payment is very modest. Plus, as a freelancer I dont get paid on 1st of the month - the cheque comes anytime and I can't but just accept. The point is, I am struggling, especially because I have to take care of my mother.
But I can't quit! I have this huge responsibility of telling the stories of the unsung heroes out there. I am sworn to tell the stories of a degrading environment, of corruption. If I am good enough of a story teller, I can surely get noticed, especially in this age of fabulous technology? Yes, it will take time, but it will be worth it.

And then Osai, one day, when you are a granny, sitting with a mug of coffee with a group of beautiful kids, you will look back and smile: you did something good in life that you can be proud of!

Being romantic? But romance leads to love and is it not good to be lovers, than haters?

Keep loving!

Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

Nusrat Ara's picture

Thanks for sharing. Loved

Thanks for sharing. Loved it.



Stella Paul's picture

Thanks Nusrat

Thanks for reading through Nusrat. This is indeed a forum where I find it easier to share- the constant pressure and need for being politically correct is not felt.

Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

Ariee's picture

Totally agree

HEy Stella!

The totally agree about how young educated women don't want to stay back home anymore just because they think the system won't work.. It's the same in Nepal where educated girls biggest dream is to marry some NRN guy abroad so that she can live a better life than she has one back home. Girls who are nurses, not care about their career , literally throw it away just to marry some NRN and totally cool with working as a nanny when she goes there.

Astha Joshi

Stella Paul's picture


Yes, its a common trend across Asia and other developing regions. But its also an unhealthy trend. We need to bring it up as often as we can. Even if we can stop one person from leaving, it will be a change.

Thanks so much for reading!

Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

spidercalf's picture

Yes it happens all the time!

I totally agree. No one else can make developments, increase production, attend to responsibilities and be accountable in our own land, if we cannot take time to figure out our systems. Because we too are capable!



Stella Paul's picture

Of course!

"Because we too are capable!" - what a strong belief! of course we are. And we will prove it.


Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

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