Every time people talk about the empowerment and education of the girl child, Africa is always the target audience. But the empowerment of the girl child is not particular to a race or tribe. Educating a girl child to want more than just to be an eye-candy is for every society, every religion.
Growing up as an ambitious girl was difficult. I was misinterpreted, misunderstood. However, fortunately for me, I was raised by parents who never made me feel small for being born a woman. In a family where a woman’s voice just as loud as a man’s, boy, was I fortunate.
The first time I started getting the society’s take on the voice of a girl was when I was in primary school, the report card read, “IFUNANYA is a very intelligent girl, but she talks too much”. I did not understand this comment but my mom did. She went to the school and asked my teacher what that meant and she replied, ‘She is always fighting, especially with boys’. My mother laughed and went home.
Now, you may wonder at my mother’s reaction, but this woman raised me in the eastern part of Nigeria. This is a place largely adherent to a culture highly unfavorable to a girl child. It is a place where girls are sent to school just because men recently only started marrying graduates and everyone wants a girl who eventually gets married, but not a girl who uses her words and her qualifications to ASK QUESTIONS.
Why did my mother laugh? Now I cannot really say, but maybe it is because the girl she knows has never been or will never be in a fight. Maybe is because she understands that the teacher is just getting to see a girl who actually speaks out and does not hide behind a façade. A girl she trusts will always speak up without ever being scared of not being heard.
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EDUCATING THE GIRL-CHILD
The education of the girl child is more than just the attainment of classroom education; it is about a girl with a voice. It is time we start teaching the young generation females things other than to be just an eye-candy, a sex tool. That it is okay to be an ambitious, brave, strong-willed, go-getter, resourceful.
It is okay to be stubborn in your pursuit of happiness. It is okay to study that course of your dream despite the stereotype; it is okay to go after that degree if that is what YOU want. Hell, it is okay to be selfish (women in this part of the world especially; have been made to see themselves more as sacrificial lambs than persons).
Do not let society define happiness for you. Do not let society keep you quiet. You have a voice, USE IT!
In the words of Tabatha Coffey, “it is okay to be a bitch….” If you are a woman who is confident, one who speaks her mind, one who is strong; the tendency of you being called a bitch more often than not is high. So it is time we change the stereotype, it is time we redefine our own version of what a bitch means…. So how about: