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You are a Woman

You have always been held back. Your earliest memories were of your mother reprimanding you - "Girls don't climb trees. Stay here and play with your doll." You looked out of the window longingly. You saw your brother placing his leg on one of the weak branches. You watched as he fell to the ground, screaming, "Mummy! Mummy!" You wouldn't have fallen off that tree. You knew all the branches well and when your mother left for the market, you climbed to the highest branch and looked at the scenery below. You knew where you wanted to be - at the top. But they won't just let you.

In the school's drama, your teacher said you would act the role of the sick patient rushed to the hospital. You stood and shook your head from side to side. "No, I want to be the doctor. I can do it better than him." You said, pointing at the boy who had been given the role. "A man-doctor is better. Don't be disobedient." She chided.

Then you were grown and you thought - "Finally, I can make my dreams come true." After your bachelors degree, you enrolled for a masters degree. After that you continued with a PhD. Your mother, family and friends of the family came knocking - "Have you gone insane? What would you do with all your studying without a man?"
Get married - their verdict.

You felt anger well in you. You were not a man-hater - Nah, very far from that. You have had your share of love and heartbreaks but you were not bitter.
Maybe you would marry one day, maybe not. But no one has the right to make you feel incomplete.

You are a woman but first a human.


Uniagya's picture


very interest it really explain African culture stereo type

Petunia007's picture

Thanks for reading. The

Thanks for reading. The stereotype isn't just limited to Africa even though it features mainly there. I have found out that most times when men use the 'you're a woman' tool, it's because there is no other rational argument to stop her from achieving her dreams.

Uniagya's picture


it is true but also as woman we are as much fond of saying but all men are like that especially when it comes to love affairs (cheating).
How do you explain that please comment

Riya's picture

Hello Petunia, Thank you very

Hello Petunia,

Thank you very much for portraying such a vivid picture of many countries like mine ( nepal) where women's roles are defined by family, society, tradition etc. Girls and women are told not to do this and that all the time; however many of them have challenged society by doing things they are not supposed to do.

Again thank you for sharing your views with us.


Petunia007's picture

Riya, many women in different

Riya, many women in different parts of the world can relate to this. I'm glad that many are challenging the constricting stereotype. Thanks for reading.

Morris's picture

Women speak out

Interestingly captured in short words the type of a society we are in Africa. To change the mindset, we the perpetrators must be involved. I'm a male person, so im here to understand so that i too can help make the change.

Thanks for your post.


Petunia007's picture

I'm happy to hear you're

I'm happy to hear you're ready to learn. Please encourage that woman in your life to reach her dreams.

In Kenya, it was unheard of for women to take 'unconventional jobs' which were a preserve of men. We defied the norm and can now boast of a multitude of men who prefer the services of female motor vehicle mechanics, carpenters, painters, drivers, masons and administrators among others. Why is this so? Because women are sticklers to perfection, and detail, and always do their work more carefully, double checking to cross all the t's while dotting all the i's. To crown it all WE ARE GREAT AT MULTI TASKING!

Centre for Disadvantaged Girls, Kenya

Petunia007's picture

Wow! Lovely development

Wow! Lovely development you've there. But do you know sometimes women are their own worst enemies. You hear a woman say, 'I won't enter a bus driven by a woman because I'll be scared." Scared of what? A woman like you? So women need to rid themselves of those kinds of belittling statements first.



This is typical of African women who know that being beaten by a husband shows that he LOVES you.

Dear Petunia

You are so right. As women, we are treated as second grade humans.
Always putting ourselves down.

Your post reminded my of my childhood and my desire to be free and wild - to climb trees, roof and anywhere really. I was always reprimanded. When you get time for some light reading I recommend you to read my blabbering at

Back to the point. Society needs to understand that as humans men and women are equal. We should have equal opportunity to choose what we like to do. Of course there are biological difference. But that does not mean we have to stop ourselves or anyone else has to dictate to us what we study, and where we work or for how long we work.

As an educated and self-driven individual who enjoys work - I have often been disappointing and depressed with the the lack of support from my partner to understand that I too earn the income for our family, that I too have work commitments that require me to leave the kids for him to mind.
Often times, women end up doing everything while all men ends up doing is working outside and resting while inside.

Anyways, that's just an unhappy full time working mother complaining about the unfairness :)

Keep up your great work,

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