Moyosola Jolaolu: Raise Your Voice
My use of the term ‘voice’ in the title of my piece for this week is both literal and figurative.
I recently sat in a meeting with a woman I’ve come to admire greatly. Not only had she achieved so much in her career both locally and internationally; she also started an initiative which aimed to create safe spaces for women to meet and open up about the challenges they faced in both home and work environments. Problems are shared while solutions are also proffered in this safe environment by women for women.
In my talk with her, I realised that the very same issues that are being faced by lower level managers were nothing new to those in Executive positions such as herself. We began to exchange stories of the glass ceiling to the expectations and pressures women across the border face on a day-to-day basis and it was astonishing how we could possibly sit there for hours and not have tales to tell of one incident or the other.
However, on this particular day, I was feeling rather wary. Wary at the state of the economy, wary at life in general and one thing struck me mid-way through the conversation. If I felt wary and all the other women did too, surely, that would mean that the cycle would continue. The less I stopped trying to be the best wherever I found myself, put in an effort with raising other women up and helping my community at large, the more I put other women like myself at risk.
It finally dawned on me that the battle was not the world’s to fight. It was mine. I am already the outlier: Black and Woman. I might as well dominate at it! The challenges are overwhelming sometimes, but, the onus is on us to make the best out of every situation in which we find ourselves. From our sisters to friends to even colleagues, we need to all lift each other up. Think of it this way, when one like-minded woman is empowered, that kick-starts another cycle of empowered women and we are able to say in the end that we not only survived, but conquered!
Moyosola is a Communications Strategist, Writer and Editor. She is unrepentant about the empowerment of women across Africa.