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Be the Dream, Live the Dream

Reach for the sky

"It's okay for my boyfriend to beat me when I do something wrong. He's just correcting me in love."She said.
"Too much education destroys a woman."

I gained insight into gender bias early in life as a little girl growing up with my female siblings. When someone asked if I had a brother and I replied in the negative, looks of pity or dismay would pass across their faces. The question began to arise in me, are girls not good enough?

By the time I encountered gender discrimination and domestic violence through the writings and personal experiences of African women writers such as Buchi Emecheta, I knew what my passion was. I wanted to add my voice to the ongoing revolution to free women from the limitations that enshackled us. I wanted women all over the world to reach their full potential.

I have come across men who felt they were complimenting me, when they said - "You are one of the few intelligent ladies I have met." Their words only stirred up anger in me. I knew this was a fallacy bordering on stereotypes such as this one - "women are naturally dumb."

Once, I lent my laptop to a male classmate to type his term paper. I was unaware that he had copied my work. So, when the lecturer discovered similarities in our papers, I was summoned. He said, "I know most women are lazy scholars. If you confess, your punishment will be light." I was livid! He had not even given me the benefit of doubt. If that classmate of mine had not confessed to his crime, I would have been punished for being 'a lazy female scholar.'

Then, I began to relate with women I came across everyday. I got a queer feeling when I noticed most were resigned to whatever negative condition they were in. A cousin in an unhappy abusive marriage stays put because it is culturally unacceptable for a woman to leave her husband's house. An unmarried friend decides not to further her education because an enlightened woman with high educational qualifications wards off potential suitors. I realised I knew very few women who had allowed their 'self' to thrive.

So when I heard of the program, "Voices of our Future," I knew I had found the perfect outlet to actualise my dream of being a part of the global women empowerment scheme. Even though I had been trying to project this dream through my writings, I felt being a part of a virtual community of women such as Worldpulse would give my vision direction and propel me into the exact channels where my voice can be heard and make positive impacts on the lives of others.

I dream of a time and place where women can unite as one with a resonant voice that booms and uproots all hindrances to our rights, freedom and well-being. For that dream to come true, it begins with you and me.

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Sharontina's picture

it begins with you and me!

Yes dear Petunia,

It begins with you and me. I really enjoyed the way you have narrated. Lets join together to enjoy the life of freedom and well being. Lets call upon our fellow sisters. lets be their voice. lets bring them out and all together will shout one day like thunder.

Love.

Merlin Sharontina

Petunia007's picture

Thanks so much. I'm glad you

Thanks so much. I'm glad you enjoyed reading it. You can also check out my poetry "the meeting" on 2013 VOF poetry.

Petunia, first of all I want to say thank you for getting right to the heart of it all. You pointed out where exactly you've seen these forms of gender inequality among many examples. Your words show so much strength and persiverance. It's very admirable!

I think my favorite part out of your piece has to be when you mentioned this: "A cousin in an unhappy abusive marriage stays put because it is culturally unacceptable for a woman to leave her husband's house. An unmarried friend decides not to further her education because an enlightened woman with high educational qualifications wards off potential suitors. I realised I knew very few women who had allowed their 'self' to thrive."

Women for so long have been forced to hide in the shadow of the men in their lives, that when they have the chance to thrive, they feel they are doing wrong. So they further continue to marginalize themselves.

You are an example of a woman with strength! Thank you again for sharing your journey with us.

Much love & respect xoxoxo

Petunia007's picture

Thanks for the heart-warming

Thanks for the heart-warming comments. *hugs* please you can read my VOF poetry "the meeting".

Precious M's picture

Women are intelligient

Petunia dear,

Women are not as frail or unreasonable as people think. We are strong, we have much to contribute to the world.

In a similar case, a postgraduate student from the English and Literary Studies Department in my school copied a female classmates assignment. Then he hurriedly submitted it before her. The lecturer was totally convinced that she was the copy cat. That was how she failed that course.

This happened at he University of Nigeria Nsukka, where I did my postgraduate studies. How is Nigeria this morning?

Much love

Precious

My pen speaks

Petunia007's picture

It's painful that women are

It's painful that women are judged from limiting stereotypes. However, I also think some women need to change their ways too - there are some females who intentionally play 'silly' because they believe it's attractive. They intentionally decide againt improving themselves especially in a patriachal setting where a knowledgeable woman is seen as an arrogant entitity.

bhavna's picture

Articulate.

Dear Petunia,

Your write up is neat and articulate, your thoughts penetrates directly.
Society always needs an excuse, to blame and label women as dumb ass, its satisfy their ego.
Sometimes, its their fear of loosing the ground that make them step up to further abuse a woman.
Let the voices build up against this discrimination and accept the half sky.

love and regards

Taha Mirani's picture

Soul stirring

Now that is what you call a soul stirring piece. And the way you have expressed is just amazing.

Rise and Shine.

Love

Taha Mirani

Petunia007's picture

Thanks. Your comment warms my

Thanks. Your comment warms my heart.

Aminah's picture

many women are cultural conformists

You have so very consistently described how we women are perceived by our society and our men.
My blood boils when people refer to women as weak and dumb.

And yes, women are made to feel vulnerable, made to believe that we have to behave in a certain way, made to believe that we have to be patient.
And I have to agree I am one of those people who have been conditioned from little age to be the perfect role model for women - to be patient, kind, hardworking, obedient etc etc.
But luckily my mother ensure I had the education that I needed. the hardship taught me had try hard. So there are people like myself who have a confused mindset. We are educated and yet we are unable to break off from the societal shackles that holds us. I am in an abusive relationship and yet I had no idea how to break free from it. I had no idea how to raise my voice against it.

Your have started up a good cause and I wish you bet wishes in your journey.

Regards
Aminah

Salaam
Aminah

Petunia007's picture

I'm glad that you could

I'm glad that you could connect to this. Keep fighting abuse and you'll win.

TJ's picture

...the more things change...

The more things change...the more they remain the same.

I can definitely say I know what you were/are feeling as it relates to some of your encounters. I hate the stereotypes that many subscribe to. I get angry when women are so concerned about 'what society would think' and in so doing leave themselves vulnerable to harm.

Thank you for sharing...I knew I wasn't alone but reading this made me feel better because I have proof I'm not alone (I think I need to read more posts as I know there might be many more on here...).

TJ

Petunia007's picture

thanks for reading. You're

thanks for reading. You're definitely not all alone. We all share those feelings and we shall overcome them together. *cyber-hugs*

AbbyBrown's picture

Empowering

Petunia,

Your essay is empowering for women because it identifies issues in our global community, like gender stereotyping, and gives a solution. Your essay is articulate and clear and should inspire women to break out of the stereotypes because you offer an invitation to a community where action is applauded! You give a voice to those who are not yet ready to speak for themselves. Well done.

Cheers,

Abby

nifkinz's picture

I applaud you

Your writing stirred up some emotions in me! Girl, I was mad! And thank you for that! More of us need to be compelled to jump to our feet screaming, "WAIT A MINUTE....THAT IS NOT RIGHT!" :)

I felt as though I came along on your journey to World Pulse with you. Thank you so much.

Becky Frary

Petunia007's picture

I'M so happy that so many of

I'M so happy that so many of you sisters here can connect to my writing. That shows women are now uniting into the same realm where we understand each other's needs and challenges.

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