By Angela Semanda.
“So you’re a feminist?”, a common, almost accusatory, question that I hear from time to time. To which I reply, “No- no, I better describe myself as a women’s woman. The truth is, I don’t want to be associated with those groups of women that flaunt unshaven parts and have questionable hygiene, as this has become one of the face of feminism. But really, in the true sense of the word, I am a feminist. My favorite definition of a feminist can be found in the Urban Dictionary: “belief that women can and should be treated equal to men in terms of opportunities, intellectual capabilities and social responsibility in spite of their biological and child-bearing roles.”
I recently worked on the Leadership Management and Governance project (LMG) East Africa. This project brings women mentors, who are experts in the sexual and reproductive health field, together with young women that truly desire to hone their leadership and advocacy skills. The statistics for women and children in the Africa are not good. (Refer to SDGs2030).
At a recent forum in Nairobi, I was privileged to meet some of the women who have dedicated their time and resources to mentor others in their footsteps. It was an honor to hear from Patricia Murugami at The Strathmore Business School in Nairobi. I took many lessons away from what she said but what I found most admirable was her clarity and concise way of addressing questions with valid responses, something that would have taken some ages to think around and come up with meager responses. She is evidently well read, well spoken and confident in her subject matter.
You see, women equality isn’t entitlement~a way for us to step in just for the perks, and tell the man in the cubicle next to us, that the lights broken and that’s a “man’s job”. Equality means we should enjoy the perks but also endure the tough criticism and the long hours at work while still finding a work-life balance and not having to act “like a man” to get it right.
I will conclude with an open call for more women and men, to reach out and be an engaged mentor to a young woman or man. Reach out and pull one out. As John Mayer sings, “ …Be good to your daughters, they will love you do. Girls become lovers, who turn into mothers, so mothers, be good to your daughters too. While we are on this, LADIES, please shave your parts that need to be shaved, NO ONE WILL TAKE YOU SERIOUSLY and its not cute.