“A 16 year old girl full of life and drunk in her own “know it all” sense of euphoria is oblivious to the deeply rooted female bias & social misogyny she is to face in future. “- At least that is the ideal situation! Unfortunately in today’s society our sixteen year old daughters are facing society biases, abuse and discrimination from as little as preprimary school. The underlying mental “reshape” that subliminally occurs in these formative stages will cause them more damage in their social, emotional and mental phases of life if not actively addressed and reformed early on. I’m talking about shaping the minds of young girls into a positive, confident pot of wealth, health, pride and courage. But who is doing all this Shaping?
It’s a regular school day in the demanding day of a single mother. She wakes at the crack of dawn to prepare her little one for another joy filled day at crèche’ – a safe haven where her offspring can gather knowledge, laugh & play. She is oblivious that even at age four, attending a great school and assumingly getting the best education all her hard hours of work can buy – she is not strengthening her child. Because at this formative age if her teachers still separate her from her white classmates; still fail to learn her name (and of course err on the side of simple nick name) or embrace her naturally as SHE is: This is modelling her little bundle of Joy into a young lady unsure of herself; conscious of discrimination by race and form and with the overzealous desire to be loved.
“You do not know what you don’t know” – How do we foster a buoyant and unrepentant assertiveness in our young African girls? Whose job is it to re enforce this narrative; for they do not know what they don’t know. When I started my professional career I was told “get a mentor” “get a coach “– someone to help you navigate the professional landscape. This made me wonder why the emphasis of life coaching and mentorship is only stressed at maturity age and why the construct is to approach a single/ few individuals to help shape my story as opposed to a collective. I’m certain instilling this practice of gathering insights from young and old female leaders is one that should be harbored from a tender age; one we should be supporting with our daughters, nieces, sisters. We need to be women in support of women to actively put into motion the wheel of change.
In the words of Malala YousafzAi “We realize the importance of our voice when we are silenced” We have been piercingly stating our position as feminists, actively fighting for correction of the current issues we face as women and unashamedly taking a stand against the males who do not stand with us….
But who do we stand with if not together?
It is not enough to fight against oppressors and males in the effort to equality & equity- We need to fight again a “woman against women” society and start changing this at a grassroots level. Through the formative years of young girls encourage them to see each other as support pillars and not competition; as a matured professional in your field forget not the ambitious women that come after you – as they are not coming to take your job, but to learn from you. As a teenager withdraws in the face of puberty and peer pressure; comfort her, take her under your wing and remind her of her natural Beauty.
It is up to YOU to rebuild the history of women and it only through women supporting women that the strengths extrapolate, the Social paradigms deteriorate and we begin to reshape who we are in the face of each other and our male counterparts.
By Nwamara Obiike:
“I am not an early bird, or a night owl. I am some form of permanently exhausted pigeon!” “Propertier” | Blogger | Foodie | Feminist | “Philanthroper”