Celebrate and support women
First this post is not about feminism. Or maybe it is. Please hear me out before you judge. Although women have been fighting for gender equality way before the word feminism was popular. Some have fought fiercely for women’s rights without ever knowing the word feminism existed. Right now, the word feminism makes some people cringe if not outraged.
My grandmother is the first feminist I know. But I doubt if she ever knew she was one. She had eight children, two girls and six boys. In a culture where girls were expected to aspire to marriage by the time they turned 15, where education was only meant for boys, my grandmother made sure that her two daughters had the same equal rights as their brothers.
She understood the vulnerabilities and the obstacles that awaited her girls in life. And because of that she ensured all her children got education. Not because of their gender but because they all deserved to be educated. She made sure that her daughters had the right to choose whether to get married or not. In the end she raised two strong and independent women who have greatly influenced my life in wonderful ways. She was fearless and often would say, if she had gone to school she would have become the president of my country. And I bet she would have.
We have come a long way since the times of my grandmother. A lot has changed. But we still have a long way to go. Just to mention a few, women are still expected to have ambition but too much. To be successful but not in a way that emasculates a man . In some African countries, marriage is still viewed as a great personal achievement on a woman’s part just like it was 100 year ago.
Whether we like to admit it or not we need both women and men to recognise the need to create an equal society. Where we all have equal rights not because of our gender or physical strength. We need more women to publicly declare their support for gender equality. Because it took the anger and sacrifices of some great women to open the conversation about gender injustices.
So, this post is to express gratitude for the women who came before us. The women who through their bravery paved the way for us, to enjoy the things that we might take for granted today. This post is to remind us that celebrating and supporting women doesn’t have to happen only on International Women’s Day. Also this is to remind us that supporting women doesn’t have to be grand, political or public. Sometimes it’s the smallest things that make the biggest difference. More importantly this post is to remind women that we need to support and celebrate each other more often. If you are wondering how you can celebrate and support women. Below are my favourites.
LIFT EACH OTHER UP
Women are increasingly creating powerful communities that celebrate and acknowledge the strengths and achievements of other women. However, in so many ways, we are still competing and tearing each other down. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be competitive. We should be. In a way that inspires and encourages others to aspire for the best. We can start by sharing knowledge. I believe we all have something unique and individual that the girl next door can benefit from. In doing so we will be creating a wonderful progressive community of women. Women who understand the power of giving.
“ I’m very conscious of the fact that you can’t do it alone. It’s teamwork. When you do it alone you run the risk that when you are no longer there nobody else will do it. ” – Professor Wangari Mathai –
Individually we should seek to surround ourselves with powerful and supportive women. Women who know more than we do and are willing to show us the ropes. Online has made access to inspirational women easy. Follow women who inspire you to be the best version of yourself, attend women’s conference, find a mentor. Just be willing to learn, get out of your comfort zone, and expand your horizon.
SHARE YOUR STORY
“ share the story of the mountain you climbed. Your words could become a page in someone’s survival guide” – Morgan Harper Nichols.
So much in my life I have learned from other people sharing their stories. Small things that make such a big difference. We have so much we could share. Share your first period story, it could make another girl chuckle and know that her experience is not the only weird one. Talk about your birth story another woman might just need to hear that. Share what it took for you to get to the top – to ensure that in the end you’re not the only one up there. Because “even when it’s not pretty or perfect. Even when it’s more real than you want it to be. Your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own “ – Michelle Obama
DONATE TO WOMEN’S CHARITY
Back home in Kenya, I know women’s welfare is not where it was 100 years ago. But it’s not where it should be in 2020. We still have communities and cultures that degrade the life and welfare of girls. Things like female genital mutilation, child marriages and gender based violence are still acceptable. So donating your time, money or knowledge will help give a voice to someone who might not know how to use theirs yet. You will be contributing to something bigger than yourself. You will be inspiring a new generation of girls and boys.
In the end you do not need a label to be able to voice gender based issues. If you find the word feminist uncomfortable, you do not have to use it. Because some great women before us got us here without one.
Here are a few charity links you can have a look at