March 8 is a special day for all women. Serving an important purpose, it forces us to have the uncomfortable conversations about gender inequality and the achievements women have made since the day was set aside in 1911 when more than a million people in different countries, championed by women, rallied to claim their right to work and vote.
Fast forward to 2022, much has changed. Despite the discrimination and challenges women still face, a lot has been done to improve women’s rights and there is so much to be grateful for. We are going to school, we are occupying top seats in government and corporate, we can choose to hold onto marriage in pursuit of our dreams and so much more than women pre-1900 could only dream of.
With that power at your hands, what are you doing for yourself as a woman though? Instead of wallowing on what needs to be stopped, done, highlighted, and all that jazz, important as they are, choose to celebrate this day with at most gratitude. As an empowered woman living in a third world country with great opportunities, you can afford not to complain for one day and be grateful surely.
I choose to use my privileges to forge forward.
This word is everywhere and for good reason. It is a true acceptance of who you are embracing the positives and negatives while allowing yourself to grow into a much better version. All said and done, are your needs being met? All too often, our needs get swept under the rug and mum is always there to rescue everyone, but no one to reciprocate the favour.
The reality is, you deserve your own love. Whether it means acknowledging your worth which could be monetary too, accepting your flaws or simply saying, “no,” it is about time we switch our mentality to putting ourselves first.
Make that conscious decision to celebrate yourself and how far you have come. Hit the gym, travel solo, change your diet, buy that new car or get the new body you want. Stop complaining and do something nice for yourself because you deserve it and you can.
Elevate your brand
If you feel more can be done to improve or upgrade your appearance, business, skills or self, to create better opportunities or be happier, why not? Enroll on that new programme, change your wardrobe and go for professional counselling to declutter those skeletons in your closet.
Walk into that boardroom and demand what you are worth with confidence. If making money is part of your goals for 2022 do not shy away from the process.
Never has there been a better time for women in Africa to move up the corporate ladder by merit, like it is now. You have gone to school, you have the skills and brains, build on that and make it work for you.
Be your sister’s keeper
You cannot expect society to do everything for you. Charity begins at home. As women, we need to be compassionate, loving and supportive to our fellow sisters. Buy from women who own businesses, cheer your fellow women on, be kind to one another and be a positive reflection and example to the sisterhood.
That ‘women are their own worst enemies’ holds true, but with the opportunities at present, a beautiful force can start when we choose to work together. Be intentional about not putting your sisters down and showing up for one another. And that for me is how I choose to celebrate and show up for myself as a woman with what I have. It may not be much, but it is something I can work with and so can you.