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Don’t read this if you are not a WOMAN

Tell you what, if we had the chance to choose our sexes on our way into this world, I would choose to be a woman even in my 100th life. I don’t know if you feel the same way, but you have no idea how much power you possess just by being born a woman. Your warm heart, your resilience, your ability to multitask and more importantly, your ability to make other humans, gives you a divine power no man will ever have. Can anything beat that? Tell me!

Centuries ago when women were a disadvantaged group, I wouldn’t have dared make this proclamation. When women were properties of their husbands, used and dumped at will, subjected to discrimination and violence, confined to the armpits of the dungeons they called home, I wouldn’t even dare write this piece or consider publishing same anywhere without a male pen name. But thanks to feminism (not extreme feminism), we have a different story to tell. Today, women are recognized and many of them are changing the world in the most extraordinary way even in the face of the depressing challenges they encounter every day.

From business and finance to politics, from technology, education, entertainment, medicine, sports, no success story is complete without the involvement of women. A few days ago, the world woke up to Forbes’ story on how a 21-year old woman is the youngest self-made billionaire EVER. Kylie Jenner, daughter of matriarch Kris Jenner ousted Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg with her Kylie Cosmetics.

A historic number of women in America have declared their intentions to challenge Donald Trump for the presidency. The number of women in Ghana’s parliament in the last election increased from 29 to 35, representing 12.73 per cent which ideally is not the best, but it shows we are getting somewhere. In a few years, I believe the story will be different if more women are encouraged.

To the men who ignored the warning and clicked on this article, can you imagine a world without that grandmother that impacts you with wisdom and shares with you all the amazing stories of her life; can you imagine a world without the woman who singlehandedly raised you and your siblings – strong woman you call a mother; imagine a world without that amazing woman you call wife, the one whose unwavering support has helped you through thick and thin; imagine a world without that courageous and intelligent soul you daughter; think about how the world would be without your loving and caring sister. It would be like the word ‘love’ without the letter ‘L’ or a house without a roof. I bet you don’t even want us to begin having such thoughts, right?

Despite proof that with the same skills and abilities as men, women can be equally successful in various ventures, sexism is still an albatross on our necks. To a career woman facing discrimination and reading this, I know challenges facing you as a woman has forced you to think of giving up sometimes. You may have had to wake up in the middle of the night to cry several times because it seems as if no one in the world understands you or what you are going through. What I am about to say might not heal your pain, but I want you to know anyway.

Look, you have no idea how many people are motivated by you. That young girl whom you have no idea exists has so much hope in you and all she wants to see you do is succeed.  All she sees is your resilience, your boldness, your strength and not your weaknesses or the tears. So, before the thought of quitting consumes you, remember that little girl and many others like her. Tell me, where we would be as a generation without America’s Oprah Winfrey, Germany’s Angela Merkel, Liberia’s Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Nigeria’s NgoziOkonjo Iweala and Ghana’s Georgina Theodora Wood?

To you, who is hesitant to go for a job, a position, or chase a dream because you think women fail in the area, hear me – YOU CAN DO IT EVEN BETTER. You should fear not trying and not a failure. Look up to Salma Okonkwo, founder of a multi-million-dollar oil and Gas company UBI. She is said to be building Ghana’s biggest solar farm. Who would have thought? A woman in this field? But she went for it and is successful. Think of all other women who have succeeded in male-dominated sectors.

To you, a woman who is denied an employment opportunity because you refused to exchange sex for it or even you who was forced to do it. Also, to you who have been sexually harassed or assaulted, hear me, do not suffer in silence, your voice is your power – speak up now. I hope your confidence supersedes the fear of being shamed or doubted. Think about how others who would have to suffer your fate if you refuse to speak up? Speak up or do whatever you have to if it doesn’t break any law, to expose whoever subjected you to that heinous crime.

Even more heartbreaking is the three kidnapped Takoradi girls. For six months now, the three girls aged between 18 and 21 have been gone missing in the Takoradi Metropolis in Ghana, West Africa. Despite having a Nigerian national in custody, the police are yet to locate the girls. If any of you missing girls is reading this, you are in our thoughts. Hang in there, help is on the way!

As the world celebrates women today, my final message is to you, a husband, brother, son, father, co-worker, boss who ignored my warning and read this article, thank you for treating every woman in your life right. Thank you for respecting and supporting women. If you haven’t in the past, I hope you begin after reading this piece.

And to you, every single woman reading this, let’s keep fixing each other’s crowns and keep supporting each other. Lastly to a successful woman reading this – THANK YOU. Thank you for setting the pace. Thank you for not giving up and for not letting us down. To you, a young woman reading this – do not let your gender limit you. You can do everything, all you need is determination and hard work.

Happy International Women’s Day!

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