No, I’m not a feminist – I just want women to thrive

I recently had an interview with a woman who told me that she is always looking out for the affair of the woman. People call her a feminist and she doesn’t like it.

I understood her. I love women too [no, not that way], but one of my bosses thinks I am a feminist. Do I think of myself as one? No.. because I did not consciously choose to look out for the affair of fellow mamas. I just discovered that overtime, I care how the woman is viewed, treated, spoken to. I care that women are educated, get access to quality health care and information they need to make quality decisions; I care that women have healthy self esteem and they instill the same in their children; I care that women have equal access to opportunities, justice, the rights to pursue their dreams and passions, whether those are traditional or more bold or even outrageous. I care that women make healthy choices, are independent, are successful, are happy.

The view most people have is that if you are pro-woman, you are anti-men. All very wrong. Men make up most of my friends list. I guess I find the sub-species easier to get along with, so no, I do not hate men. I will marry a man and be a real good wife to him.

However, I realise most people who are considered feminists [read the list of pro-women lawyers and leaders in human rights organisations and the strong society leaders like Martha Karua, Njoki Ndungu, Wangari Maathai-likes] are single.

One mama told me that she would rather be single and achieving her dream than live with a man who was always clipping her wings whenever she attempted to fly. I guess that is why the high flyers in Kenya [not just- I am thinking of Condoleeza Rice and Oprah Winfrey] never marry or end up divorced.

Is it that the women-sympathisers end up loving the girl child so much they begin to revile the man as the source of all injustice?

Not everyone who is pro-woman is a feminist. We can attain a right balance in first, knowing that our strength as women is in taking our place, filling our roles, doing that which only we can do so well. We are mothers, we are sisters to each other. We nurture, we feed, we foster, we dream, we inspire,we believe and spur others to do the same.We create opportunities for others to thrive, right from the homestead.

Second, we need not let people fit us into their mould. Suppose you want to head the Central Bank? Go ahead and pursue your dreams. Don’t let people tell you Africa will never have a female Central Bank governor. May be you just want to be a stay-at-home mom; that’s fine too. Fit your own mould. You alone knows what brings you joy. Pursue that which brings you joy.

Third, we need to respect our men. There is no need for competition. We all have things we can do and things we’d rather let the other gender do.I’d rather he changes the tire while I am on Facebook posting pictures of us stuck in the middle of nowhere. Id’ rather he checks out the leaky plumbing.

Women, we know can do whatever we set our minds to anyway- even if its get to State House. After all if we have achieved all that we have with the glass ceiling still on, what about if it wasn’t there? Just look at Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.


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