by Fatimah Adegbite
When I was a little girl, as little girls were taught then, “you don’t play around boys, it is unheard of.”
As I grew older, as teens were taught then, “don’t draw too much attention around boys, Walk, talk and rock softly. Don’t call for too much attention.”
When I was sixteen, as sixteen year old girls were taught then, “don’t wear clothes that show your frame and shape, that’s indecent. Don’t wander, argue or express an opinion, that’s lousy.”
When I became older and passionately sought a career, I was admonished as many girls my age, “it’s not a career for women! Late nights, more men to be around at work, when you get married that’s not going to work. You can’t keep a home with that kind of career! Why do you need a career anyways, you’ll be married and be taken care of.”
This is just a surface of what every girl go through.
Then I wonder, why am I a girl? Does being a girl mean struggle for equality and career limitation?
Somehow we have become accustomed to accept these limitations. To accept everything that comes in our lives. We accept every education and career rights we have been provided with or deprived of.
We accept the fact that our career choices have to be made by someone else. We accept all unwelcoming behaviors of our families despite knowing that we deserve better. We accept sexism and economic inequality. We accept the denial of equal opportunity.
We accept being body shamed and objectified. We accept our own vulnerability. We accept and believe that we are not better than anyone else.
This acceptance has turned into compromise. We become used to compromising every aspect in our lives. This compromise needs to be changed right now, it needs to be challenged.
We need to challenge everything that doesn’t seem right, Everything that has been forced upon us. Everything that hurts our dignity and self-respect, demeans our self confidence whether at home or at the work place.
Challenge everything that we’re deprived of, because we are as human as everyone else and we deserve equal rights. The right to education, to freedom of expression, to our own choice career, to make our own decisions, to voice out our own opinions and to live freely.
I raise my hand high as Fatimah Adegbite
I #ChooseToChallenge cultural norms that discredit women
I #ChooseToChallenge gender stereotypes, biases and inequalities
I #ChooseToChallenge objectification of women
I #ChooseToChallenge every form of violence against women and girls and I urge you to do the same.
Let’s all empower and support women and girls.
Let’s all celebrate the achievements of every woman we know.
Let us encourage our own growth.
Let us help every young girl grow.
Let us protect, respect and nurture with care every girl with dreams.
Let each girl achieve her own dreams.
Fatimah Adegbite, an Anti-GBV Advocate is a staunch believer in education (especially for girl child) as an effective tool to solving many of the world’s problems.
An advocate for quality education at all levels, social justice and meaningful youth engagement, she also desires as active participation of women in politics and decision making.