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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.

Comments

Onyinye's picture

One story, one voice

Nice piece.

It's funny how we ladies from Nigeria tell almost the same story. I used to feel like I was the only one refusing to compromise. Good to find that we are not alone.

If we keep speaking up we can effect a change of mindset maybe not in the men but in our fellow women who feel they have no other choice than to succumb to societal pressure.

It is my belief that women can do more than just be "submissive wives". We can play more than one role in society and still not lose our "womaness".

We only just need to tell ourselves that and keep encouraging each other.

Keep up the good work.

Onyi

Athena's picture

Onyi it feels good to find

Onyi it feels good to find someone who identifies with this. I BELIEVE that indeed change is possible "if we keep speaking". Thank you for reading.

desertmuse's picture

Athena is a good name

And she would say YES! YES! YES! to your article. It was as if the winged goddess were speaking directly through you, reminding women of their power and strength and how absolutely necessary it is at this time for women to stand in their power and change the world. There is nothing I believe that can hold you back from anything.

Yvonne

Heather Shepp's picture

You inspire me

It is reading articles like yours that fuel my drive for equality, and the opportunity for every woman, worldwide, to soar with the gifts and skills she has! I really love how honest and straight forward you were in this piece, the first hand experience you provided, and positive outlook. Thank you for sharing!

Heather

Emily Garcia's picture

Thank you!

Hi Athena,

Thank you for sharing! While your story is personal and discusses your experience in Nigeria, at the same time, it feels like it hits at the root of what many women in many societies experience, including myself. The need to fit that mould, handed down to us in speech, behaviour, customs, etc., of 'woman' feels so ingrained sometimes...and it's sad that it does because it is so limiting. We are all more than what we have been told to be by our societies.

Best wishes,
Emily

Emily Garcia
World Pulse Online Community Associate

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