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Unsung Sheros

Women of the Future

Silent screams, unshed tears, unfulfilled dreams – Woman!

We were born and nurtured to take care of everyone – from our parents to our siblings and our future husbands and their families; our in-laws - these are our divine responsibilities.

They say our place is in the kitchen, crouched beside our mother, for we will get married someday and we must learn how to put the right amount of salt, magi and pepper in the food, lest we bring reproach to our mother.

We can learn all we need to learn about education from school but never at home; at home we learn how to cook; how to serve, humility and subservience - but never our homework or complex algebra formulas or how to play sports because these are reserved for our brothers, they are the ones who would carry on the family name. Besides, no man would marry a woman who is too intelligent or assertive, play dumb, you mustn't voice your opinion in public, be an ‘ideal’ wife figure says mother.

We watch our mothers being beaten and battered but she never cries, we see her burdened with so much grief and responsibilities but she never complains, she spends all day at the farm or at her petty business, she often has to walk long distance home, there may be no husband waiting to dote on her at home; he is probably out with his friends. She bathes the children, cooks for them, wait for her husband to return, serve his food, do the dishes and put out the light before going to bed.

She wakes up before the first cock crows, even on her sick days; it is a taboo to oversleep. My Mother is a Superwoman! Aren't all women?

We were nurtured to accept that as women, we must find pleasure in being unhappy in our marriages; our personal lives and our careers - after all our mothers went through similar situations and they withstood them stoically, they stood by their sometimes very abusive husbands. They tell us: a woman who can smile through the pain is A REAL WOMAN, a woman who takes the “till death do us path” vows seriously is A REAL WOMAN. Sadly, death has parted most marriages – death resulting from domestic violence. The man moves on – he finds a new wife.

As we grow in self realization, we make friends in real life or over the web. We may begin to think differently. Why can’t we take time off work; go somewhere with our girl friends, visit nice places, explore nature? Why can’t we dedicate our lives to a cause we passionately believe in? What if we begin seeking a mate who would assist us with house chores and refuse to settle for anyone less? For most of us, that is when problems begin because we are perceived as westernized rebels – walking against the crowd, setting bad examples for younger girls. This often engenders gender-based violence.

An empowered woman is one who has reached a balance in her personal, family and professional life. She is one who knows when to stop, take a break, reappraise her circumstances and make decisions best for her. Save yourself before you save others – just like flight crews advise us to put on our oxygen mask before we help others. Save yourself! Woman!

I am still a victim of these stereotypes and bylaws and customs. I am finding my path in uncharted waters, making my way slowly. My voice is getting stronger too – my resolve unwavering. No storm can shake my inmost calm.

In this moment I am whole. I celebrate being a woman and a winner. I am basking in the euphoria of being a Victor. I AM. A VICTORIOUS WOMAN!

Future women, I see you growing up; no. I see you being raised as I was, I see you already fear doing certain things because you have been told they are not for you. Have they told you that you cannot be an engineer, a naval officer or an astronaut? Have they told you to settle for more ‘feminine’ professions? If they haven’t, they will; soon. What if I told you that you can do anything, be anything and achieve everything you wish for?

You can and you will. My dear friends, read, dream, think great thoughts, work hard, hold my hand, I won’t let you go. Let me help you for I know only too well how difficult I had it growing up.

Future women, you are stronger than you are given credit for.

Future women, you cannot afford to give in to repressive thoughts.

Woman! You are the future. You must guard it, protect it, and nurture it. When tomorrow comes, we won’t be unsung Sheros.

This story was written for World Pulse’s Girls Transform the World Digital Action Campaign.

World Pulse believes that women's stories, recommendations, and collective rising leadership can—and will—bring girls greater access to education which will transform their lives, their families, and communities. The Girls Transform Campaign elicits insightful content from young women on the ground, strengthens their confidence as women, and ensures that influencers and powerful institutions hear their stories.
Learn more »

Empowering women of the future literacy school
Empowering Women of the Future Community Outreach
I and some of our sheros from Empowering Women of the Future celebrating Girls in ICT Day in Lagos Nigeria

Comments

Susan K.A.'s picture

Thank you

Thank you so much for writing this--it's powerful and has so much wisdom. We need to give girls the message that they are precious, worthy, unconditionally loved. If we as women can give ourselves the love and acceptance that we so richly deserve (fully, unreservedly, unconditionally), then we will be an example for girls. We cannot "afford to give in to repressive thoughts." So true!

______________________________________________________________________________

"I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being."
-Hafiz

Vweta's picture

Dear Susan

I thank you more for taking the time to read it.
I couldn't agree more on the point you mentioned about giving girls the the message that they are precious, worthy, unconditionally loved. Most importantly like you mentioned also, we must lead by example by loving ourselves and making conscious efforts to be among people who accept and respect us for who we are.

We must never give in to repressive thoughts if we must succeed.

Best,

Our Voices make the WORLD PULSate...
Vweta.

You have spoken for almost all women in the underdeveloped world, Vweta!

We are hardworking, we withstand pain and shame, and yet we smile through it and become the strength for our children and family.
Growing up with that pain, that angst, that unfairness makes us tough I suppose.

But many a times we don't want to be tough. We want to be human. We want to be loved, we want to be respected, we want to be cherished, and we sometimes want to be pampered.

And all of these will come to us only through education and emancipation. Let's keep raising our voices so that at least our next generation grow up as equal citizens to that of men.

Salaam
Aminah

Vweta's picture

Dear Aminah

Thank you for your kind words.

There are times like you said when we donot wish to be Superwomen or tough, we just want to be appreciated and celebrated and acknowledged for our hardwork.

Lets keep letting the world know that Girls Transform the World!

Best Wishes,

Our Voices make the WORLD PULSate...
Vweta.

antonia.h.'s picture

This is a very strong,

This is a very strong, positive message! I can tell you are a strong, determined woman and it's reassuring to read this, it makes me more confident in what's ahead for us. Although you emphasize the prejudices and stereotypes that act as obstacles to women having an accomplished life, you also have a very future-oriented mentality. It seems like you won't settle for what's already set for you in the society and that's encouraging for any young woman to know. Your essay has so much energy! And it would be so great if it was read by as many young girls as possible!
Thank you!

Vweta's picture

Thank you Antonia. Your

Thank you Antonia. Your observations, commendations and compliments are heart warming.

I am glad that I could talk about gender- repressive thoughts and prejudice women face without dwelling toomuch on the problems. Thank you for taking note.

Best,

Our Voices make the WORLD PULSate...
Vweta.

jacollura's picture

Yes!

I love this piece. So powerful and inspiring.

Vweta's picture

Thank you Jacollura.

Am really honored to learn that you found it inspiring!

Warm regards,

Our Voices make the WORLD PULSate...
Vweta.

Nicole.Staudinger's picture

Beautiful

This post is absolutely beautiful. It encapsulates the deeply seeded culture of subservience most women have been raised in and then, like a phoenix, soars triumphantly from the ashes of that debilitating ideology. Thank you, Vweta, for this inspiring peace. I hope that you can use your gift of communication to ignite hope in all the women in your life, including the ones who share the community space with you here.

Vweta's picture

THANK YOU Nicole!

I really thank you for taking the time out to read this.

I must confess i found your comment deeply motivating and and insightful!

Thank you again!

love,

Our Voices make the WORLD PULSate...
Vweta.

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