Without them, I would not be.

Saum Idd
Posted January 31, 2021 from Kenya

What is possible when women lead?

The most memorable memories I have of my childhood have always been centered around a certain set of rules, well, largely because I’m a girl:

1. Get an education (I’m thankful and lucky to have a feminist father who knew and understood the value that education had to a girl venturing out to the world) and good grades for that matter so that he would hold his head high when he went to the mosque on Fridays or when he was in the company of his friends,

2. Steer away from boys at all costs and maintain my dignity and my family’s reputation in the village until marriage,

3. Get a job after college, which would be compromised when I become of marriage age,

4. Live in the jurisdictions of how a Muslim woman needs to carry herself around men, how to express herself, how she dresses and what is expected of her.

I loved my childhood, I really did. I have fond memories and it shaped who I am today. The values and the guiding principles have always stayed with me up to date. However, with the changing times and being a young woman navigating through life, some needed adjustments along the way the most being self-expression.

I am a creative woman working in a creative industry that requires valuing and honoring my voice more than all else. Being a storyteller has gotten me to understand the power that words and stories have and that’s my loudest weapon. Sometimes, some stories bear a weight that is controversial and not quite encapsulated to some of the values that society has on certain topics and matters, and I sometimes also find myself in a dilemma whether to pursue such stories or not. At the end of the day, growing up as a woman, with an upbringing such as mine has always made me value what others think more than my own thoughts, opinions, ideas and voice. 

I remember when my career started and the notions that everyone had about women in the creative industry. That one had to be “bad ass” or “bitchy” in order to survive the men dominated field. Soft, fragile, sensitive, pretty didn’t cut the acceptance bar for them. For a technical job a girl had to be tough and rough to have a seat at the table, contrary to what I have seen- you can still keep your girly side and do your makeup and wear your heels... You had to offer more than just being the girl at the desk printing away all day or the production manager making sure that the cast and crew got home safely or were well fed on set, that the roles of hair and makeup, production design were the perfect roles to play for women. We are forced to believe we have to be more; intellectually understand the technical bit of the craft and be able to carry them out with confidence in order to be taken seriously. You had to have a good understanding of how the camera worked, or how the lighting had to be set up and be willing to get dirty carrying cables and lights and setting up and a bit of editing prowess in you to be a complete package. The same was not required of the men. As long as they were good at one role that was all it took them.

It’s since taken me over six years in the craft to fully understand that the notion that I have been trying to live up to was founded on the basis of the industry being male dominated and that for women to make it they had to be like men. If there is anything the year 2020 taught me was how wrong I was to believe this to be true. It would have saved me a lot of time and sleepless nights learning and perfecting myself with all the skills I thought I needed to feel worthy of fitting in and belonging. Though I must confess they come in handy because I have the creative understanding and what works and how it works and whether I like it or not, an advantage that some women lack. Being creative had nothing to do with how I chose to show up in the world but rather how I chose to express my talent to the world be it in the form of a writer, a make-up artist, a set runner you name it, the choice is all yours to make.  

When I reflect back on last year, it was a tough year for all of us surviving a global pandemic that brought the world to a standstill. Well, a horrific time indeed given all the lives and jobs that were lost, the companies that closed down and many families struggling to put food on their tables. I had my challenges raising my daughter with no source of income and battling mental health, but the women in my life did not let me wallow in misery. They stood by me, gave me a listening ear when I needed to let it all out, gave me advice however harsh but with utmost love and concern, they made sure I ate and rested and helped me with the baby, they prayed and encouraged me, but most importantly they held my hand and never allowed my light to dim for a better tomorrow. Life became manageable with their support. In the midst of all the chaos, it’s the year I dared to dream again and decided to let go of all the emotional trauma and baggage that was weighing me down and picked myself up. It’s the year I read most books, spent most time with my daughter, did several courses online, listened to podcasts, started a side hustle selling clothes, connected with a mentor and attended so many fun and inspiring zoom meetings organized by women. The list is endless. It was a fulfilling year with so much growth and going back inside to find love for self. Away from self, I did recognize how countries with women leaders mitigated the pandemic in their countries and I was in awe.

Before I write my tribute, I want to celebrate women leaders I know, those that show up daily to make our lives less cranky. Those closest to us, you are appreciated.

To the women I look up to, let us take a moment of silence and appreciate the powerhouse that was Cicely Tyson.

I remember watching a series “Cherish the day” and thinking that role she played felt like a tribute to her and her contribution to Hollywood stories then days later I hear of her demise and I was crushed. I love what she stood up for when it came to portrayal of black women in the movies, and the roles she played that represented women in their feminine and indigenous power. Representation matters for me because growing up the women I looked up to were from the West, from what I saw in the media and they didn’t look like me and certainly didn’t have the same struggles as me. Storytelling has the ability to equalize and unify our struggles and triumphs and to have women working hard to ensure that our voices are well portrayed, our cultures maintained and preserved and our differences and uniqueness captured authentically gives me hope that my daughter and the generations to come have a point of reference that is diverse. I celebrate the likes of Shonda Rhimes, Ava DuVernay, Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama and closest home Judy Kibinge and Wanuri Kahiu for being examples that women can lead in the creative front as business owners and film directors. I salute these ladies for the blue print they’re leaving behind for us. Their work inspires me to live in my authentic truth as a black woman, to shine bright and let the stories I tell shine through for other women, they inspire me to claim the spaces I walk into knowing my strengths and follow their voices as guidance that another woman made it possible for me to be where I am and where I hope to go; and to harness my femininity because it’s where my true power lies.

When I think of a world where women are empowered to lead, it starts off by setting foundations of leadership for young women and girls. A lot of socialization be it cultural, religious, political, emotional, psychological and economical lay its roots in the smallest social unit which is a family- where a girl is born into. Leaders should be nurtured from a young age.

A world where women are empowered to lead is a place where women are given a fair chance to have their voices heard and respected. For their voices to be heard they need to be in spaces where decisions about them are made. A seat at the table.

A world where women are empowered to lead doesn’t have room to support patriarchy. Patriarchy/ patriarchal systems have always favored the male gender deeming them superior. Breaking this system calls for gender equality in all aspects of women and girls lives including education, access to equal opportunities, leadership, rights to make decisions about them/ for themselves et cetera.

A world where women are empowered to lead is a compassionate world. Women are nurturers which means they empathize and establish emotional connections with the people they lead providing validation and appreciation that we all crave for.

A world where women are empowered to lead provides an avenue to elevate others. With feminist movements and women ground-breaking in the spaces they occupy, they rise and raise other women with them as coaches and mentors.

A world where women are empowered to lead is not overconfident and narcissistic but guided with humility for which is an effective leadership and feminine trait. 

A world where women are empowered to lead encourages a generation of confident, independent and self-reliant individuals to grow and thrive. In the spaces I have been in, that have tapped into nurturing me to be a leader and equipped me with the resources and knowledge I need to be the best version of myself while changing the world, that is a blessing I’d want every girl and woman have, because she’ll need it.

I found my power through the eyes and voices of other women before me. I have my power because I know it, I understand it and I embrace it. Confidently.

The only blueprint secret for unleashing women’s power is; being authentically feminine and not trying to think and act like men. Occupy the spaces we enter with pride because “you will be the first, but definitely not the last”

The End

 

 

Comments 46

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Jill Langhus
Feb 01
Feb 01

Hi Saum,

Congrats on writing your first, powerful post! Thanks so much for sharing some of your background, your great, supportive father and who has inspired you and made you who you are today. I think you're right that without the blueprint being set ahead of us that life would be quite a lot different now, and I agree about women not trying to be like men. I've seen a lot of that in my life, unfortunately. I watched "Cherish the Day," too, and really enjoyed it. I loved the different perspective that was shown.

I'm looking forward to seeing more posts from you and learning more about you and your work. Hope you have a good week!

Saum Idd
Feb 03
Feb 03

Hey Jill,
Thank you for your encouraging comment. And yes, I promise to write more from now hence more because I have been meaning to share my stories here since 2019, but I'm glad now is the perfect time. I can't wait to share my work on here as well to learn and grow from you and other powerful sisters here.

I'm glad you relate to my story, I was hoping it gets that effect. We can't be like men, we can only see them as human as we are and still stand in our own unique power. I'm glad we're setting a path for those coming after us to be their true selves while living their best live.

I'm glad you watched "Cherish the day" I will take it as we have a similar taste in movies? Have an amazing week as well, Jill.

Jill Langhus
Feb 03
Feb 03

Hello Dear,

You're very welcome. Great to hear!

Yes. I agree. I am, too.

Quite possibly. I'm always looking for something different, feminist, and entertaining:-) You?

Thank you!

Saum Idd
Feb 08
Feb 08

I also love movies that have strong female leads, simple stories that leave you wondering and a little suspense to juggle my mind.

Jill Langhus
Feb 10
Feb 10

Yes!

maeann
Feb 02
Feb 02

Welcome to World Pulse Saum :) Your story is your power.

Thank you for this very informative writing. I like what you said and I quote: "I need to be the best version of myself while changing the world" We need every version of women to change the mindset especially this generation.

How are you after last 2020? Do you think this 2021 will be a better year for us?

Have a great day ahead. I look forward to read more of your insights.

Saum Idd
Feb 03
Feb 03

Hey Maeann,
Thank you for the warm welcome and encouraging comment. And yes, we need a diverse version of women to inspire this and the next generation. The year 2020 taught me to go deep and understand my truths, and who I really am away from this armor I wear to survive each day as a woman in a sometimes tough world. So, 2021 will be even better than previous years because we're walking, living, working consciously, intentionally for our well being above all else.

I wish you an amazing, powerful 2021 sister.

valem
Feb 02
Feb 02

hello Saum
welcome to World Pulse community,
It is good news to hear a voice being raised from kenya
Hope to hear a lot from you.

Saum Idd
Feb 03
Feb 03

Hey Valem,

I'm pleased to connect with you. And yes, that's the plan, to have more voices raised from Kenya, and more so from me. Thank you sister!!

Beth Lacey
Feb 02
Feb 02

Welcome to World Pulse. This is such a powerful and inspiring story

Saum Idd
Feb 03
Feb 03

Hey Beth,

Thank you. I'm glad it had that effect on you. Thank you for your feedback sister!!! Cheers to more!!

Hello, Saum,

Wow! What a powerful first post! You surely found your voice. It's so lovely to read that you have women behind you and beside you, as you face challenging moments in your life. It's awe-inspiring how the power of the feminine spirit brings healing as you shared here. I love your " A world where women are empowered" statements!

I agree with this, "The only blueprint secret for unleashing women’s power is; being authentically feminine and not trying to think and act like men. Occupy the spaces we enter with pride because “you will be the first, but definitely not the last. " Preach it, sister!

Saum Idd
Feb 03
Feb 03

Hey Karen,

Your response is encouraging. I'm so blessed to have a close circle of women behind me, doing life with me. And I wish younger women have this because it will go along way as they find they way around the world. And I'm thankful that I get to share the same on this platform with other amazing women with encouraging support.

Thank you for relating, and quoting what you found to be true to you as well. I'm not alone in this, and it humbles me to share that with you.

You're welcome, dear! Please keep on writing. You have found your writing voice, Keep using it to empower more women and girls! Looking forward to reading more from you.

Meredith Kaknevicius

Saum, I agree, there is a problem with patriarchial systems and how they define success. Women are often expected to meet a different standard than men in order to be considered equals. Power comes when we act on our own strengths, not by trying to be like someone else.
"I found my power through the eyes and voices of other women before me. I have my power because I know it, I understand it and I embrace it. Confidently."
Thank you for sharing your powerful story so that you may help other women embrace their power confidently.

Saum Idd
Feb 03
Feb 03

Hey Meredith,
Women have a power that threatens men who support and push for patriarchal systems, that is why their idea of women's success is something close to how they, (men) think and act and want it applied in all aspects of women's lives. But, women who have set the bar didn't follow that bar, they went against it, and triumphed. And that's what makes me appreciate how we were created, soft, gentle and kind and oh so tough, patient and feminine. And that's power that can never be taken away from us.

Hello my sister Said,
Thank you for sharing this powerful article.

Saum Idd
Feb 03
Feb 03

Hey Felister,
Thank you dear sister.

Beth Lacey
Feb 04
Feb 04

Welcome to World Pulse

Saum Idd
Feb 08
Feb 08

Thank you so much Beth.

Queen Sheba D Cisse
Feb 04
Feb 04

Congratulations on your first story, Saum.
The names of your inspirations are shared of mutual respect. You are so right to admit that we do not and we will not conform to men's way of doing and thinking because yes we have our own unique feminine power which is a gift from GOD if we own it and use it!
Thank you for sharing your experiences with us and we surely hope to hear more from you.
Respectfully.
Mama Queen

Saum Idd
Feb 08
Feb 08

Hey Mama Queen,
I love your name "Mama Queen" a true embodiment of what I'm talking about... owning our titles and achievements proudly and confidently because that is what the women I have mentioned above are doing. Thank you Mama Queen, I will surely write more.

Queen Sheba D Cisse
Feb 09
Feb 09

Sincerely, thank you my dear Saum,
your Success is guaranteed with your enthusiasm and I am cheering for ya!
Mama Queen

Tamarack Verrall
Feb 04
Feb 04

Hello Saum,
What a powerful voice you have, full of perspective and wisdom. Your story is so empowering and affirming that we as women embody what is needed in the world, that we need to carry our authentic feminine selves with confidence, preserving our cultures, our original cultures when women were respected leaders, and make known the women leaders in cultures that respect women now. I so agree that the women you mentioned have been and remain such stellar role models and I celebrate in particular the recognition that talented, strong black women are being recognized for their wisdom and work. The strong and remarkable women have been kept from us for too long, and their accomplishments have all too often been stolen and credited to men.
I so look forward to your voice here, and celebrate that you have plans to write more.
In sisterhood,
Tam

Saum Idd
Feb 08
Feb 08

Hey Tam,
Thank you for bringing that point to light and I quote; "that we need to carry our authentic feminine selves with confidence, preserving our cultures, our original cultures when women were respected leaders, and make known the women leaders in cultures that respect women now." Where and when did we lose this power? And the only thing that comes to mind is the disconnect in historical stories about these powerful women and what ferocious leaders they were. These stories are not captured in books or even online which is sad for the generations after us. But I hope we, the present leading ladies can leave a legacy for them.
Thank you for sharing your insights with me, I appreciate it.

Tamarack Verrall
Feb 08
Feb 08

Dear Saum,
I s agree, it is the disconnect, the hiding of the truth of strong women leaders throughout time. This continues. Max Dashu has spent a half century researching and documenting images and stories of the truth that has been hidden purposefully from us. She is a World Pulse member from early days, has just been too busy to post. A lot is available through https://www.suppressedhistories.net, her website. Many of us are studying her work so that we can speak and write about it. It is astounding what she has discovered. She posts on Facebook too: https://www.facebook.com/max.dashu.
Sisterhood,
Tam

Saum Idd
Feb 11
Feb 11

Oh Tam,
Thank you for these links, I will be sure to check them out. I'm so happy she took on this path to help us preserve these amazing women's' stories.

Olanike Adesanya
Feb 06
Feb 06

You're on point Sis
✍️.
Uniquely Womanly,
Each specie with a special innate tendency...
Thanks for the views.
Much Love.

Saum Idd
Feb 08
Feb 08

Hey Olanike,
Thank you sis, we are indeed uniquely womanly. I like that.
Thank you for the comment. Much love sis.

Marie Abanga
Feb 07
Feb 07

Dear Saum,

Welcome and wow what a first story that gets you reading with a mental notebook. Thank you for sharing your story which spans from your childhood through the struggles to the woman of strength and valor you are becoming - without havening to give up your 'girly power' too.
Looking forward to reading more from you
In deep sisterhood, Marie

Saum Idd
Feb 08
Feb 08

Hey Marie,
I'm so glad you noted a few things from my story, I'm inspired by you, thank you. And here's to embracing our struggles with strength and valor, us both. You words have given me a reason to smile, thank you so much.

Much love.

Adriana Leigh G.
Feb 07
Feb 07

Hi Saum, congratulations on your first post! This is a gift, truly thank you Saum. There is so much in here that is jsut so powerful, a force, woo hoo! Love, love, love. This!

"I am a creative woman working in a creative industry that requires valuing and honoring my voice more than all else. Being a storyteller has gotten me to understand the power that words and stories have and that’s my loudest weapon. Sometimes, some stories bear a weight that is controversial and not quite encapsulated to some of the values that society has on certain topics and matters, and I sometimes also find myself in a dilemma whether to pursue such stories or not. At the end of the day, growing up as a woman, with an upbringing such as mine has always made me value what others think more than my own thoughts, opinions, ideas and voice." Yes, and no more valuing others voice above yours Saum, now you value, and share yours, with pride, with light. Thank you for this, and can't wait to hear more from you Saum!
Hugs from Montreal,
Adriana

Saum Idd
Feb 08
Feb 08

Hey Adriana,
How is Montreal? Thank you for your powerful encouraging comment. Thank you for encouraging me to value my own voice over anyone else's thoughts. I'm thankful I have this World Pulse space to share that voice and the voices raging inside me and my community. I appreciate you Adriana, thank you sis!!

Barry
Feb 10
Feb 10

Dear Saum,
You are most welcome to the sisterhood. I personally can connect to your story because the biggest driving force of my ambitious attitude is the women in-front of me. I have looked up to a lot of women who have achieved great feats in the society, sometimes I am left in awe thinking 'she really did this, surely if she did it ,I can do it better'. Although my mother and aunt complain that I spend a lot of time reading or doing something other than cleaning or cooking, you know the kind of things women are expected to do. I do wonder though, 'Why do mothers train their female children to completely depend on a man? Do they really like the position they themselves are in? Don't they want something better for their female children? If he leaves today can mothers vouch that their daughters would strive even better on her own?' , I earnestly wonder.... Thank you so so much for you story!! I hope to read more from you!

Saum Idd
Feb 11
Feb 11

Hey Barry,
I feel like you and I are connected with the same experiences. Your comment made me smile. I have been in the same situation, always being groomed for marriage and how to tend for my own household... a woman holding it down for her family while I have ambitions and a whole different ball game all together. I disappoint my mother sometimes but I've made sure I break her heart gently by showing her what I'm capable of. Now, we don't fight anymore because I've made her see and believe in my dreams and my own ideas of the world and what I want for myself.

I like what you said and I must quote " I personally can connect to your story because the biggest driving force of my ambitious attitude is the women in-front of me. I have looked up to a lot of women who have achieved great feats in the society, sometimes I am left in awe thinking 'she really did this, surely if she did it ,I can do it better" This is a legacy I want to leave behind for my daughter and other women when they see what we are all able to achieve despite what society says.

Thanks for sharing your experience with me. Our mother's have only their experiences to share with us of what they think is success, and that's family and marriage, and that's all they know which has been what has been passed down generation to generation but it's women like you and me and this wonderful community that is teaching and showing them that we are capable of so much more. Trust me, they admire our courage and would have loved to have the courage to do so during their time but they didn't. Maybe their challenges are different from us now and they did their best then. So continue being you, striving higher, she is surely very proud of you!

Nancy Iyke
Feb 26
Feb 26

Very true dear

esther atosha
Feb 11
Feb 11

such an inspiring story
welcome to worldpulse dear . looking up for more of you

Saum Idd
Feb 11
Feb 11

Hey Esther,
Thank you for your warm welcome. I will definitely write more.
Thank you sis!

Adanna
Feb 11
Feb 11

Dear Saum,

I love the picture!:-)

Welcome to World Pulse and thank you for sharing your story.

This is apt, "When I think of a world where women are empowered to lead, it starts off by setting foundations of leadership for young women and girls."

Looking forward to more posts.

Love,
Adanna

Saum Idd
Feb 13
Feb 13

Hello Adanna,
Coming from you, I'll take that as a compliment. Thank you for sharing your comment and thoughts with me, and I definitely look forward to writing more.

Much Love

Andrace
Feb 13
Feb 13

Hi Saum,
Wow! What a powerful story. 'Glad you found yourself in a year of great global challenge. I love these lines..."A world where women are empowered to lead is a place where women are given a fair chance to have their voices heard and respected. For their voices to be heard they need to be in spaces where decisions about them are made. A seat at the table." Your closing line is so powerful "...The only blueprint secret for unleashing women’s power is; being authentically feminine and not trying to think and act like men. Occupy the spaces we enter with pride because “you will be the first, but definitely not the last” :)

Thank you for sharing a story of tenacity, hope and resilience. Keep the flame burning as we'd love to read more from you. I heartily congratulate you on your first post too. Very impactful. 'Great that you are raising your voice. Keep writing and shining and sweet cuddles for your bundle of joy. This is certainly the place to be...the sisterhood of World Pulse. Welcome and well-done, Sis!

Love and hugs,
E. J.

Saum Idd
May 04
May 04

Hey Andrace,
Thank you for your beautiful comment. Sorry I'm replying to this now. We have only hope and tenacity to carry us through especially during these hard uncertain times with the global pandemic. But even with that, we are unstoppable because we hope for a better future and our courage and resilience will get us the future we want.

Much Love,
Saum

Kika Katchunga
Feb 15
Feb 15

Hello my sister saum,

Thank you for sharing your story with us; that's wonderful ; proud of you to be so lucky to have found such a great dad who shouted at your skills; who has not ignored your right to education, it is truly magnificent; just a word of good luck to your projects.
love

Saum Idd
May 04
May 04

Hello sister Kika,
Thank you for your encouragement. I appreciate my old man, he has no idea what he did for me as a child and how it has shaped my life and future. Cheers to all fathers who support their daughter's education because we know not all girls have this privilege.

With love,
Saum

Nancy Iyke
Feb 26
Feb 26

I really love this article, it has given me so much confidence to carry on with myself without feeling guilty. Thanks for sharing

Saum Idd
May 04
May 04

I'm glad it has given you that confidence Nancy. You're deserving of achieving everything you want without feeling guilty about it, sis. We're in this together.

Shine dear, shine.

Love,
Saum