On Saturday last weekend I journeyed with an amazing woman. Mercy and I were seated side by side on the bus on our way from our mutual friend’s Gusaba. Four hours the journey lasted but by the time I disembarked, our conversation had reignited my fire. I felt as though I had been anointed with oil to go and change the world.
As women we are constantly in competition with each other. We want to have the better figure. We want the richer and more handsome man. We want to be the envy of our peers.
If we meet someone who is seemingly better placed than we are, we immediately feel threatened. So we gossip about them. We tear them down with unkindness in order to feel better about ourselves.
A female boss gives her female subordinate a hard time because she wants to secure her place at the top. A contestant spikes a competitor’s drink to ruin her chance of participating. This is what we do to each other.
But it doesn’t have to be like that. It shouldn’t be like that. We live in a world which is already skewed against our favour. Our predecessors had to demand for the right to vote. The right to own or inherit property. They had to demand complete control over their own bodies so that they could marry when they want, have children when they want and be with who they want.
We have all these things because women were willing to lock arms and fight together for the greater good rather than seeking individual gain. We are not there yet. The fight is still on for a better world for women. In order to get there, every woman needs to realise that her fellow women need her.
So hold your friend up. Tell your friend who is scared to pursue her dreams that she can do it. Remind her of her strengths and let her know that you are in her corner.
Teach your daughter to love herself. Don’t watch quietly as she becomes a ‘lovely’ doormat and punching bag. The world is full of people who are always ready to take advantage of the ones who don’t love themselves. That is why a lot of people gravitate towards the quiet, unassuming and timid types. Because a confident and outspoken woman won’t let anyone use her as a stepping stone.
If you are in a position of power, create space at the top rather than cordoning it off and being happy and proud to be the only woman in that field. Use your authority to remove hindrances for other women so that they too can rise.
If you see something, say something. Don’t let your friend walk out of the door with an unflattering attire. Don’t mind your business as your fellow woman struggles through abuse and loss.
Your words matter. You actions can build or tear down your fellow woman. Be there for her.