‘We need to reshape our perception of how we view ourselves. We have to step up as women and take the lead.
I’ve been fighting for gender equality and challenging societal norms long before I realised it was a ‘thing’. Much to everyone’s annoyance at the time, I remember refusing to accept the societal definition of gender-based roles and being the voice for my siblings. I refused to settle for less than what I knew I deserved.
It would be silly of me to think that men and women are the same – the goal, however, is for us to collectively create a society where there is equal opportunity for both sexes.
When I look back at my life, it would be unfair of me to credit one woman for inspiring me to be a catalyst for change – I am inspired by every single woman who is using her voice to create a balanced world for us all.
A good friend of mine Eruke wrote a beautiful piece celebrating all women. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did.
I started out trying to write about a woman who inspires me, but five rough outlines later, and no one seemed right to me.
Sitting back and tossing the different ideas around in my head, the problem dawned on me – I was trying to write about one woman.
I don’t think I can name any particular woman off the top of my head who inspires me.
My perception of women as awe-inspiring beings didn’t come from grand gestures; it was nurtured by the daily acts of courage and strength displayed by every single woman thriving in this patriarchal world we are born into.
My view of women as superheroes was enforced by the bravery exhibited by every woman before me who spoke up so I would have a voice.
The friend getting a divorce, because “society be damned”, is a hero who will not be silenced.
The girls in the lunchroom exchanging stories of abuse they experienced as children are inspirations.
The aunt refusing to allow familial expectations to define to her the right age for marriage is courageous.
The random stranger acting as a friend to warn me about the guy trailing me and walks me to safety is a mentor.
Being a woman is hard. Society works to make life difficult for us, and waits to console us with our womanhood as an excuse should we fail.
Being a black woman is worse. The odds are forever against us, and the bets keep tilting the scales to our detriment.
I am inspired by every woman who gets out of bed every day determined to live life to the fullest and not be bound by the chains of expectations.
I am amazed by the resilience of every mother that is willing to undergo another trip to the labour ward.
I draw strength and inspiration from every unique, bold and amazing woman who will not be boxed up.
We are women, and we are all heroines.
To all the defiant women – today is for you.
Happy International Women’s Day.
Tag a woman you’d like to celebrate in the comments and let her know why she inspires you. ❤