Unlike the past decades that have been overwhelmingly patriarchal, women, today, can look around and see the likes of German’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, Liberia’s President Johnson Sirleaf and several other women leaders.
A close look at the examination results across the East African Community (EAC) can reveal an upward trend in the performance of girls in the last five years.
As much as one may argue that increased enrolment has led to more girls registering for examinations and perhaps appearing at the top, a gender friendly environment and affirmative action hold the lion share of the contribution.
Now girls and women at large have freedom to think independently when mapping their future paths. They no longer look at men as being the sole source of their success or security. Many a woman can now work and support themselves without an ounce of help from their virile counterparts.
Unlike the devastating situation in the last two decades when my girl classmates used to tell me to read and not join them in sleeping and making noise in class as their husbands somewhere were reading and working hard for them, girls are now challenging boys in education at all levels.
Deep in the men’s circles, fear of the very successful women has run down their spinal cords. The cowardly cannot dare approach the prosperous lot.
While successful women do not necessarily look down upon less successful men, many men find it castrating to live with women who are more successful than they are.
However, a hindrance on the part of men, it is worthwhile to note that success on the part of women has been a shield against oppression and abuse. Women set on the path of success tread uninterrupted until they reach the pinnacles of attainment.
Contrary to the case of the Biblical women of Jerusalem who walked with their noses up in the air and risked the wrath of the Lord, today’s women can walk shoulders high without the risk of ridicule.
In Rwanda, girls have a reason to work hard and be successful because several women role models in parliament, cabinet and several governmental and non-governmental institutions surround them. The quick question that crosses their minds is, ‘why not me?’
Role models play a key role in shaping the minds of the youth. The more they look forward to be like their favourite characters, the more they work harder to follow their footsteps to be where they are.
It is therefore necessary to praise the positive role models for young girls since they encourage them to go for success.
The author is the Director of Studies at Nu Vision High School.