Last Updated on
My Journey As A Woman:
Years back, a shout of joy was heard after a strong woman entered into labour: “Wow! It is a baby girl!”
I grew from being a baby girl, into a young girl, and now a young woman. My journey into womanhood has had its ups and downs. What you call vicissitudes of life.
Being a woman is something that cannot be compared with anything else. It comes with a lot of sacrifices and benefits too.
I commenced my journey into womanhood with one of such sacrifices. When I got married, the production company I was working with at Lagos, Nigeria, at that time, relocated their production site from Lagos to Ogun state.
The idea of me and my husband starting our young marriage from separate cities wasn’t an option we admire. So, I had to resign from my workplace to be with my husband since his income, though not much, was enough to take care of us. However, since we could do with more, I resorted to job-hunting while side hustling by utilising my catering skills.
Not quite long, came pregnancy, with its challenges and then the baby and additional challenges. All these slowed down my job-hunting and career advancement.
After sometime, I got a teaching job. Yes, a teaching job. I choose to go into teaching because of my passion for teaching and my love for family life. Moreover, I believe teaching gives me more time for family life. Along the line, there was reason to relocate to another part of Lagos. So, I resigned from my teaching job as a result and relocated with my family to the new place.
My Journey As A Woman With The Interviewer:
After settling in at the new place, I had to resume job hunting and my side catering hustle. In the course of my job hunting, I recall being invited for test and interview at one of the places where I dropped my curriculum vitae. After the test, based on my impressive performance, I was invited for final interview and salary negotiation. The following conversation ensued during the interview:
Interviewer: “How many children do you have?”
Interviewer: “How old is your baby?”
Me: “Two years old”
Interviewer: “Which means that you will soon get pregnant for another baby? Madam, we may not take you because when you get pregnant and also go for a maternity leave, it will disturb our academic calendar, and we don’t want that.”
Me: (Is this man really serious? I wondered.) “But sir, at least I am not pregnant yet. Moreover, sir, you run a school which is a child-centered organization and you resent employing married women who produce your basic customers”.
I never got that job. Rather, they employed a fellow applicant, male.
The above scenario is one out of millions of work/career-related discrimination that women go through. I have seen and also heard about cases where women had to hide their wedding bands (rings), lie about their marital status or even endure sexual abuses just to get a job or get promoted at the workplace.
My question is: Is it worth it?
Women Are Loaded Assets:
Women are loaded asset! If you educate or empower a woman, the education or empowerment does not just end with her as an individual. A woman will surely multiply the positive training she received in such a geometric progression form that you end up educating and empowering an entire generation through her.
A woman’s love and dedication is second to none. This she displays and reflects in the way and manner she handles her husband and children. A woman can give ALL she has, including her life for the sake of her family, especially her children.
A woman’s level of endurance has not met its match in history. This can be seen in the way she endures labour pain , which is the highest form of pain in history, and even wishes to keep giving birth to more children (you can ask my mother -Lol…) if not for the intervention of family planning.
A woman’s anger (I am sure you wouldn’t want this) is also second to none. Mistresses to married men who have been caught in the act by the cheating men’s wives can attest to this. As they say, “hell has no fury like that of an angry woman”.
Research has it that children from homes whose mothers are either educated or appreciate education do better in their academics and also turn out better in life.
Women Education And Empowerment:
There is so much decadence and erosion of family values in our society today. One of the solutions to this societal value decay is to educate and empower the woman because she will end up educating and empowering, not only her family, but also her generation.
How To Educate And Empower The Woman:
The education and empowerment of the woman is not a one-man’s job. Rather, it is a collective responsibility of all. All hands must be on deck: individuals, the family, both the public and the private sectors and the government.
· The family should see the woman as a valuable asset: Some climes and cultures in Nigeria and the world at large don’t value the girl child. This has to change
· Compulsory basic education for the girl-child: The various levels of government should work together to provide a compulsory basic education to every girl-child.
· Prohibition of under-age marriage: The government should make and implement laws prohibiting under-age marriage.
· Compulsory maternity leave with pay: The government should make laws which should mandate both private and public institutions to implement a six-month compulsory maternity leave with pay for mothers.
· Laws against discrimination of women at the workplace: The government should make and implement laws against the discrimination of pregnant and nursing mothers at the workplace.
· Provision of daycare centers within organizations: Laws should be made and also implemented, mandating organizations and institutions to provide affordable daycare centers within their workplaces for their nursing mothers.
· Financial empowerment for women in business: Government and good-spirited individuals should work with financial institutions to financially empower women in business
· War against domestic violence: Awareness should be created against domestic violence and laws against domestic violence should be implemented in all climes.