What will a woman without paid job do?

Olutosin
Posted January 14, 2015 from Nigeria

Inside our small room, I secretly whispered my last night's ordeal to my immediate elder sister. My voice was hardly audible because of my swollen jaw. It was so excruciating that I could neither open my mouth widely nor speak audibly. What made it worse were my eyes that refused to dry and my heart that refused to heal.

I was in tears, bitter tears, throughout the conversation; it was as if my life could be replayed, allowed me to add and delete some horrible scenes and retrace some mistaken steps. Alas, it was impossible. It reminds me of my mother’s wise saying that some rivers cannot be crossed twice.

As I continued to narrate my story to my sister, I watched as her eyes penetrated and burrowed into my soul and beyond; it was deep, and her helplessness screamed at my hearing when she opened her mouth to respond.

She said, “How will you survive if you decide to leave because he beat you? There is nothing that can be done about this situation, you have searched for a job in the past years – no success; you have no special skills that can sustain you and your daughter; it will be hard for you to move out, if it is just to teach him a lesson, as you suggested.”

She continued, “Tosin, you have to endure and continue to persevere, this is when you learn about marriage and as you already know, a husband’s house is a school for only the wife, because there is no lesson to teach a man in his own home – he has learned how to live his life by the model he got from his father and the lessons his mother taught him, in his formative years.” She went further: “Our culture, religion and available institutions have been created to favour men, so what will a woman without work do to teach her husband a lesson? You cannot follow me to my husband’s house, neither can you go back to mamee in the village; she can barely feed herself, pray to God and leave the rest.”

As she was rounding off her statement, she stood up, refused to eat the food that I set before her, and she did not even look back as she carried her bag and left our house. Not even a glance at the baby that I laid on the bed, not a farewell kiss to my innocent baby. My sister was very sad, but she left me behind, sadder, without proffering a solution to my problem.

That was more than a decade ago.

The unforgettable battering taught me a huge lesson that will last a lifetime: what will a woman without work do even when a woman with work could hardly stand against battering by her husband?

I decided to stop my pity party narration and move on with my life; this time around, to live a purposeful life, with my head held high and “marry my work” as a my mother used to hammer into my hearing in those days “a woman’s work is her number one husband”. Now, I realize that with work will I thrive; with a husband will I survive in a community that worships man.

Knowing my next step was easy; because I know what I wanted: I wanted to be engaged in what I love to do, yet making enough money to survive, thrive and be creative. I searched within and I was convinced that I love color – my mother worked with colors and it flashes in my mind always.

In order to modernize what I already know, I have had to involve people who have adequate knowledge of what I want to do. I want money but that is not enough; I want my self esteem back – at all costs. The greatest disempowerment that a woman can face in a developing world is work without pay. The highest work without pay is the work women do in their homes; raising great girls and boys for the world.

My life took a new turn when I began to create, re-create, market my creations, make money and save money in my personal account, for the first time in my life. This does not just affect my life alone, it has a positive effect in the lives of everyone around me, both human and animals.

My creativity has a special power to heal my wounded self esteem, the more I create beautiful things with my hands, the more I feel injected with a new strength to do more. This does not satisfy my yearning, however; I have decided to engage other women who have the same challenge with me. I have decided to listen to the stories of women, who have similar stories. We came together and began to use creativity to heal our hearts and make money for ourselves and our families.

Our creativity is the beginning of a better world for women because women's economic empowerment is advantageous.

Advantages of Women's Economic Empowerment

  • It creates strong women, strong children, better future and a better society for all.
  • It makes a woman to be independent.
  • It reduces violence against women in the communities, especially where violence is induced by frustrated husbands/poverty-stricken men.
  • It helps women to become better decision-makers and boosts self esteem.
  • It boosts the health status of the women because the health status of economically empowered women cannot be compared to the health of women who are facing economic challenges.
  • It also reduces the risks that can affect women’s lives negatively.
  • It increases the GDP of the country, because the work women do in their homes are not recognized or added t the GDP of any country.
  • It also increases the visibility of the women.
  • It gives women the courage to be involved in political participation.
  • It enhances women’s life skills.
  • It increases the self confidence of women.
  • An economically empowered woman is more likely to engage/empower more women in the community.
  • It reduces patriarchal power in the society.
  • It bridges the gender inequality gap.
  • Economically empowered women serve as role models to girls.

The only disadvantage that economic empowerment of women can cause is to challenge the notion that a woman’s office in the kitchen.

Women’s empowerment is a plus to every home and every nation. It is easy to start, it needs no physical office.

What is essential is the passion to make a positive change and the strength to make the first step. When women start, nothing can stop them because there is no stronger strength than the power of a determined woman.

Comments 19

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SallyB
Jan 23, 2015
Jan 23, 2015

The idea of “marrying our work” is brilliant! The energy and positivity behind this notion is beautiful and empowering. Thank you!

Olutosin
Jan 30, 2015
Jan 30, 2015

Yes my sister. Marry your work, it beautifies your life, it buys nice shoes on your feel, beautiful clothes in your wardrobe, pampers your body and above all; your work helps you to help and support the world and you become an agent tof change in your community.

SallyB
Jan 23, 2015
Jan 23, 2015

I guess the next question is, how do we get women and girls access to paid work and better jobs in developing nations?

Olutosin
Jan 30, 2015
Jan 30, 2015

In Nigeria, the new slogan in Delta State is "I will fuck my way to the top"Soryy for the vulgar language. That's what we hear these days. In my own opinion, if WE women want to protect the future of our girls; let us become entrepreneurs. In many Banks in Nigeria, several girls are employed to become Corporate harlots. The sleep with customers to bring in Money into the Banks. This known all over Nigeria. Let women build companies and girls will have access to jobs without sexual harrassment and molestattion. I will work hard and will employ more girls. Amen. Quota has not saved Nigeria. Even in Politics, women are sexually molested. I have just returned from a trip to 10 states in Nigeria to do a documentary ans #Reportwomen, I spent 28 Days on the Road. I understand some issues better :( Our reality is a sad one :(

Ayshah Maende
Feb 03, 2015
Feb 03, 2015

It's very sad to know that women are the agents used in such vices not only in banks but also in hotels. These saddens me as a women and as upcoming parents let's teach our daughters how to work and be successful through hardwork and not vice versa.

Ronkijo
Jan 27, 2015
Jan 27, 2015

Thank you for this beautiful from a very dedicated Sister. One advise to my of your fellow sisters out there, always learn one vocational skill whether or not you have a formal education. When your certificate fails to earn for you a meaningful source of livelihood. the works hands would feed you. do not ever be discouraged.

Tan Ching
Jan 27, 2015
Jan 27, 2015

It is better to be self-reliant and be independent. 

Olutosin
Jan 30, 2015
Jan 30, 2015

I agree with you my sister

Kristina M
Jan 27, 2015
Jan 27, 2015

Thank you for sharing your story Olutosin.  I agree that some of the advantages of being economically empowered include a better sense of self and using that confidence to encourage others to improve their lives and the community that they are in.

Olutosin
Jan 30, 2015
Jan 30, 2015

Yes. And there is something good about women, when a woman becomes empowered, she empowers more women and girls. Its true.

bgrobinson
Feb 03, 2015
Feb 03, 2015

Your story is inspirational to many people. Even in developed nations, there are similar situations that occur. Women are forced to choose to stay in an abusive relationship for the sake of financial stability or leave to figure out survival. The employment field in a developed nation may have less barriers to achieving a decent living, but if you ask the average woman, it is still difficult to achieve without support from family and friends.

I am glad that you left the abusive situation, as it is not healthy for anyone. Sometimes, breaking ties with the abuser is the best solution. We, as women, should not feel bad or apologize for doing the right thing and speaking up for ourselves and others. There is one thing I have learned in my lifetime, which is everyone has worth and has something to offer. It is a matter of tapping into that energy and using it for the good.

Systems of power and control hurts everyone. It is a vicious and traumatic cycle that has no end. When the female is held back, an entire family is held back. The only means for a family's survival rests on the male. When the male is hindered or not present, the survival of the family gets even worse than before unless there is a strong female leader in that family unit. Children suffer because they have limited opportunities and guidance. This also means that a community is left with no leaders or few leaders to lead the next generation. Sometimes, it may take generations for a family and community to recover from this hindrance and oppression.

So, what I am saying here is that you saved her family and community in many ways.

Olutosin
Jan 28, 2015
Jan 28, 2015

Thanks a lot my loving friends. Its only Economic empowerment that can strengthen the voice of a woman, open the door of better opportunities and also help her to change the status.

oladele onasanya
Jan 30, 2015
Jan 30, 2015

Today I chose to be a global change agent

Olutosin
Jan 30, 2015
Jan 30, 2015

And so shall it Be! Amen.

Tamarack Verrall
Feb 02, 2015
Feb 02, 2015

Hello Tosin,

Thank you for taking on the role of Community champion for this group. I am glad to be a part of it, and to figure out together how to create the changes needed so that every woman has personal economic independence, and with it, the freedom to choose her own life. Your words give the grounding base needed for our discussions. My heart is so sad that you have been through violence. My heart for years has been close to broken at the violence women have suffered and still suffer. The extent to which this still goes on is shameful beyond words, and our collective voices not only continually heal our hearts, but also create a new paradigm in which this issue cannot be ignored. That the answer must come in the economic independence of all women is so true, and I thank you for your leadership in setting this as a task. To this end, I am here to figure out how to create a much stronger flow of economic support from sisters in North America directly to sisters who know where money can make an immediate difference.

Olutosin
Feb 03, 2015
Feb 03, 2015

Thank You for your unflinching support. I appreciate you always always and always.....

Ayshah Maende
Feb 03, 2015
Feb 03, 2015

Am motivated to keep following my dream that one day! Yes one day I will be able to launch my social enterprise venture. I salute you for the patience you had and trust me your story is a motivation to many

Gwei Mainsah
Feb 03, 2015
Feb 03, 2015

"........you have no special skills that can sustain you and your daughter..." tells me of what girls and ladies may have in mind today. If a girl can answer this question "What can you do?" correctly then certainly she will be a good mother and not more a student to her husband.

Yvette Warren
Feb 22, 2015
Feb 22, 2015

Hello, My World Pulse Sister.

In doing a search on WP, filtered for the term “religion,” I have come upon this post.

I am honored to be an ambassador to the 2015 Parliament of the World’s Religions to be held in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA in October.  As an ambassador, I am tasked with listening to the voices of others regarding religion and spiritual beliefs and practices, and taking these voices to the 80 countries and 10,000 people represented at the convocation.  The purpose of the event, held every five years, is to create harmony among the many spiritual songs sung on our shared earth.

I firmly believe that this group needs to hear from our World Pulse community which includes voices and spiritual beliefs from 180 countries. Please review the attached links and help me to know how we can create a choir of World Pulse voices at the next parliament.

http://www.parliamentofreligions.org/index.cfm

https://www.facebook.com/parliamentofreligions

Continue to be a blessing upon our shared earth.

Thank you.