As a young woman who was often told off for being too outspoken, I found that over time I had learnt to suppress within me views which may be deemed too liberal (radical) or offensive by my immediate society.
Based on my life experiences, I am someone who truly believes that everyone should be allowed to be themselves and not made to feel like outcasts just because they are different. I tend to speak passionately on issues such as women empowerment, equality and gay rights. However, each time I express my views I am ridiculed for being a feminist or having western ideas that do not tally with African traditions. Much as I would have loved to be a part of movements that fight for the rights of women or other discriminated peoples, I found myself instead muting my voice or bending my views towards what is generally accepted for fear of being ridiculed. I also had to remain silent so as to maintain the persona of a submissive African woman.
However, thanks to World Pulse, I have come to rediscover something that is truly the essence of me- my passion for speaking up and speaking out. I remember my first assignment for the Voices of the Future application process; being used to burying all my passion within me, I treated the subject from a remote point of view. But thanks to the comments I got on that assignment, I was able to learn that there is nothing wrong with speaking passionately about something you believe in and are willing to fight for.
On World Pulse, thanks to the support and encouragement I have received thus far, I have found that I can speak about issues that I really care about without fear of being ridiculed for my “crazy un-African ideas”. I am especially happy that I have found on here, women who have experiences similar to mine and as a result of that, share my views. They too want to speak up without fear or shame. And with the support we provide for each other, we can keep doing that until our voices get so loud that it drowns out the laughter and we are finally taken seriously.
I want to start speaking out again and keep doing so because that is who I am- someone who speaks out. And unless I am true to myself, I will eventually lose myself and then end up not contributing anything meaningful to my society- which is the complete opposite of my personal vision
I no longer want to lend myself to the fight for women empowerment as a mere observer. With the mentoring I would get from Word Pulse, I hope to use my gift of writing actively in this fight. And not just on World Pulse, but also on my blog and in the media in my country where I am a journalist. I no longer want to be afraid to attach my real name to a view or cause that is deemed too liberal for my society. Rather, I want to stand up for what I believe in knowing that if I do so I would inspire, not just women like me, but even men to do the same.
Knowing that there are a lot of young women like me out there who have to struggle between being themselves and being what society wants them to be, I hope to be a mentor too and inspire them to be true to themselves and not deny their God-given talents. When men and women stop seeing women as less-intelligent, helpless or unproductive creatures, the world would truly benefit from the deluge of wisdom, strength and productivity that would be unleashed on it.Voices of Our Future Application: Your Vision