Hello, sisters – and the brothers that love us! Happy International Women’s Day! I am writing this post while comfort eating for the pain of yet another period. Cry with me please. I’m still happy to be a woman sha. We women have indeed come a long way, from being considered property to be owned and subjugated, to being acknowledged as the equally strong, able, and successful people that we are.
But we still have a long way to go. On a global and local scale, there’s plenty of work left to do to make this world truly safe and enabling for all women wherever they may be. The ‘big’ work of activism has to be done. But as little drops of water make a mighty ocean and all that plenty yarn, the ‘little’ work matters too – lifting women up in your own small corner.
And so, on this day set aside for celebrating ourselves, here are a few ways to celebrate the women around you today, and every day of the year.
Talk to them as you would any man
If you talk to men respectfully and start comparing age and marital status when you’re talking to your fellow women, abeg ehn, repent today. I know it can be hard to unlearn habits that have been acquired over time, and enabled by our misogynistic environment. But you see, we can’t make the progress we want to achieve with all that in-fighting, whether it’s subtle or overt. Let’s love and respect each other. We’re cool. We’re sisters.
We’re all as unique as our faces are many. Different women will make different choices, and rightly too. Not every woman has to get married, or be a stay-at-home mum, or working mum. Some have no desire (or ability, sometimes) to breastfeed, and a good number of may never have kids. Naturalistas are no worse or better than relaxed or texlaxed sisters, and whether or not to use makeup will always be a personal issue. Please, let’s stop judging women for their life choices. Love and acceptance is everything.
Share tips and opportunities
If you know of any funding, investment, or scholarship opportunities, especially those reserved for women, please, please, please, abeg, don’t hoard that information. I think we should use their support systems for financial and other types of growth. Share with all the women in your life, without being envious or negatively competing. There’s enough room for all of us at the top. And when you get any information on health or safety tips for women, do the needful. You know just how much self-care we need.
Take them out
Take the important women in your life out on a date. It could be your mum, daughter, sister, or friend. It could even be that female colleague you’ve been admiring. You can go see a movie, set up a spa date, have lunch at a new restaurant, or have a few drinks after work. Girls’ night out (regardless of who the ‘girls’ are) should be a constitutional right sef.
Whether it’s from malicious (and sexist) office gossip, or assault/harassment on the street, as much as it’s within your power to, stand up for women. If you know your neighbour is abusing his wife, girlfriend, or any female person for that matter, please don’t ‘mind your business’. Report to any trustworthy agency such as DSVRT or any other appropriate authority. Let’s build an environment where women feel truly safe because others are around.
I believe we can come together as women to create a world that gives us more reasons to celebrate. These are just a few tips, really. Please share how you celebrate the women in your life with us. We love to hear from you.