There is a popular slogan in my community which goes “a woman’s enemy is another woman”. I deduced from this slogan that women are responsible for the insecurity of other women and this greatly affected me psychologically. I was made to know that if I had a problem which needed solution, I should preferably meet a male rather than a female. As a student, if I had the opportunity to choose my teachers, I would rather go in for male teachers, I preferred to consult a male doctor to a female doctor. Once I walked into an office and realized a lady was to serve me, I just felt demoralized because I had in mind I was in contact with my enemy. I will smile when a waiter served me in a snack or restaurant and feel traumatized when a waitress attends to me. I generally preferred to open up about my personal problems to my male counterparts because I felt that if I discussed with my female counterparts, I will be giving them a topic of gossip.
Many other circumstances made me confirm that we (women) make other women feel unsecured. I will take an example of when I started developing breast, I clearly remember a woman in my neighborhood met my mum and told her to iron my breast saying I was too young to develop breast. She went as far as telling us that she was an expert in the process of breast ironing and could help us out as she had ironed the breast of all her daughters. I remember some years back when I lost my dad and a series of women came in a put my mother through torture in the name of helping her carryout widowhood rights. My early work carrier was marked by pain from some female co-workers who made me never to know peace at work just because of the slogan above. I speak about my experiences, however from discussion and investigation from my female counterparts, some feel same insecurity with other women. Also hearing and reading stories from various sources about women abusing the rights of female domestic servants, women inciting with men (either by cheating with them) to instill domestic violence on their spouses. Women look at a sexually harassed or raped woman as “cheap” rather than looking with pity and helping to find justice. It’s sad how some women are fighting for the security of women while others are busy working on the above slogan.
As much I have had bad days with my ladies, the most inspiring people who have greatly made an impact in my life are women. Firstly, l learned a lot from my mother. As a woman involved in promoting peace, she instilled peace values in me which can be seen in a story I published on World Pulse. We are inspired by this beautiful gratitude story!Writing in from Cameroon, World Pulse community member Ngwa Damaris Ngum shares her philosophy of peace, love, and unity—and gives thanks to the woman who helped shape her world view.Log on to hear her story and connect.http://bit.ly/I-Am-An-Advocate-for-Peace #LogOnRiseUp #Gratitude #Voice #GivingTuesday. When doing farming with her, she will refuse me from using inorganic fertilizers and taught me how to produce all sorts of ecofriendly manure for farming. She insist on lights being switched off when not in use as they are not beneficial to the climate. She reminds me every day on eating less of animal products and more of vegan products saying it is beneficial to my health. She taught me the negative effects of methane and other deadly gasses which comes from animal farms to the climate. As a women who went through domestic violence, single parenthood and is now a widow, she has feed me with knowledge of how to manage these three circumstances in case I find myself in such situations. As a woman who has experienced menopause, she has taught me how to handle the stress menopause comes with. I think she has given me the assurance and security I will need to handle some of life’s challenges.
Secondly, when I decided to pursue my studies in Economics, a lot of people discouraged me saying it has a lot to do with calculations hence it’s not a female field but I felt I could do it because I had a female Economics teacher back in my secondary days who was so good in teaching the subject and I admired her a lot. She was the lady who gave me the security and inspiration that I needed and now I am a proud holder of a BSc. In Economics with intentions of pursuing a Master’s degree as soon as possible.
Thirdly I remember when I had health issues with my female genital organs, I consulted a doctor and was sent to a male for examination. I was not comfortable with a male examining me, so I went home. The next day I came back for the examination and fortunately for me, a lady was on duty at the laboratory so I hurriedly took of my clothes, and had my examination done with no fear.
The fourth time was a day when I was detained at a police station for not walking around with my national identity card. The police men took me in, put me in a dark room with no chair so I had to sit on the floor. Some hours later, there was exchange of duty at the police post and a police lady took over from one of the guys. She came in, gave me a chair, questioned me and then followed up the procedure for my release saying” this place is not safe for a woman”. I felt so safe and happy immediately I realized a lady was on duty.
These are just a few instances of women who have had a positive impact on my security in my community. I have a passion for women in power or women in authority. Women like Meaghan Markel, Michelle Obama, Theresia May, Ellen Johnson and a host of women who are a great source of inspiration to me. Reading and hearing about their stories of trials and tribulations to happy endings makes me feel so inspired.
From life experiences about my most secured moments, I would say that a woman is not another woman’s enemy. That slogan needs not to exist. I would say no one understands my insecurities and makes me feel more secured than another woman. Therefore I have decided to work tirelessly for other women and make life a safe haven for them. I will be educating the next generation of women on how to handle all their security issues, support vulnerable women and get involved in the fight for the rights of women.