“I DISCOVERED MY OWN STRENGTH”
Growing up for me as a girl has been difficult with a lot of experiences that had to shape my life and vision of what I am today and what I hope to become. In the African context and in my country and community where I grew up, the “marriage” phenomenon is everything that matters to some, to others it is a very big achievement and to some others it is a means to an end. Sharing my own views on this issue is because at the age of 18 when I just finished my High school and was happy going to the University, there was this man who usually comes to our house and with the intention of wanting to marry me and I felt terrible because at the time I knew getting into marriage was the last thing on my mind, and all I wanted for myself was to pursue my studies and carry on with my career and dreams. But It didn’t end there when I rejected him and more temptation came my way as I finally got into the University. A lot of men kept coming my way and I even encountered sexual harassment with some who will want to have sex with me before helping me in one way or the other in the society. Like to every other girl of my age (in their 20s) after finishing from the university with your first degree, many girls are craving for this opportunity which was a conventional norm. There was equally peer pressure as most girls of my age who got married will always want to influence me and rather looked at differently since I was unable to be like them.
Sticking to my opinion, I developed a lot of resilience and when I got into the field of Gender and Development and through the help of the “Empowerment concept” which has been preached not only in my studies, in seminars and conferences I have attended, it built self-esteem in me. Furthermore through shared stories of particularly young girl’s bitter experiences in marriage, regrets and how some suffered violence, promises given to them before and how these men were going to help them carry on with their careers and later when they got married all their hopes were dashed to the ground. And all these inspired me more and more and that voice within me that urged me to let out some of these challenges, then I started writing articles. In writing my articles, I had to publish them and this was another problem when I took them to some publishing houses because it was focusing on women. However, I never gave up because I believe I have a purpose for my generation through my voice, it has been my desire to help the girl child and to let her know that there is more to life than just getting married and a lot of potentials to make difference which is so fulfilling. In my desire for a place or a platform to share my Ideas, I met this friend of mine online on face book who is also a World Pulse community member and she encouraged me to join World pulse where I could share my articles and my Voice will be heard. I just want to thank World Pulse for this platform and opportunity and to say that since I joined World Pulse I have never regretted every moment spent, It’s been wonderful and through which I see myself going closer to the future I have always dreamt of like writing my own piece- my very first book which shall be published not long from now and other goals which I am working on and hope to realize.
Even though a lot of high and low moments have been and will still be encountered, this journey has made me, discovered my own strength, resilience, empowers me and fits into my personal vision of the future through these guiding principles;
having a vision-a professional dream; -being focused and following your dream; -having the right skills; -being confident; -having a commitment to work and to succeed; -fighting for career spaces as a right; -being dynamic; -hard work; -risk-taking; -seeing gender not as a barrier but as an opportunity; -continuously seeking more knowledge and skills; -not becoming bogged down with thinking about marriage at the expense of building a career; -going for what one wants career-wise without being inhibited by gender stereotyping.