Wings and Power Regained
Women of many generations have been painstakingly imbibed with notions of what a woman’s role in life should be. It does not matter if a girl is showing signs of being good at fixing electrical gadgets or if she is pretty good at football, all these are mute. All that matters is that she focuses on the more important ‘life skill’ of learning to cook and keeping a good home. If she needs something extra to do on the side then singing or sewing will be a nice enough hobby, appalling voice and an awkward thumb notwithstanding. We do not know to dream dreams of stellar careers or a future of going places and having terrific experiences, no. We dream dreams of waiting to be endorsed in life by the opposite sex; that is the singular most important achievement dictated to us by society.
When I completed my university degree, three of my best friends were also graduating with me. They did not share my excitement at the prospect of going out to ‘conquer’ the world. They were disappointed, God had failed them. The four years spent acquiring a college degree had not been for career purposes, it was a prelude to marriage. They had hoped to move from school to their husbands’ homes, maybe a career would follow, maybe not, to them it was totally the man’s call. The pressure on them was particularly heightened because their mothers would occasionally seat them down to ask not how good their grades were doing, but how well they were doing in finding husbands. And they were only in their early 20’s. I would be the first to agree that marriage and committing to someone could be a beautiful thing, but allowing men and the process of getting there to define our existence is just sad. We seem to have lost our wings.
How can change be cultivated when decades have been invested in meticulously ingraining in women the perception of whom or what should make us happy? How can we erase generations of distorted views on what defines the African woman? How can we work to ensure that women begin to become receptive to the new wave of awareness and to taking their lives back as independents?
Global reorientation and behavioral change communication holds the key to unlocking our wings. Online platforms like World Pulse pose possible solutions. These online communities will serve for me a universal safe house and school for women from all works of life who are lugging behind years of experiences; good and bad. On these platforms will we learn the other sides to life and womanhood. Women everywhere will begin to realize that we have a choice, that we can be happy without having the opposite sex entirely dictate us. We will begin to see the unlimited possibilities that life and the world holds and be ready and willingly to reach far and beyond. Virtual communities empower me to give women their wings back.