TO BE FE­MALE

Marie Claire (South Africa) - - FILTER - Colum­nist Sarah Koop­man @sarah_koop­man

RE­CENTLY, NIGE­RIAN WOMEN took to Twit­ter to high­light what #Be­ingFe­maleInNige­ria meant, sparked by Nige­rian au­thor Chi­ma­manda Ngozi Adichie’s ‘We Should all be Fem­i­nists’ es­say and TEDTalk. What fol­lowed were thou­sands of tweets from Nige­rian women shar­ing their ex­pe­ri­ences of ev­ery­day sex­ism that, at rst glance, could have come from any­where in the world. The dif culty that many women in these sit­u­a­tions face is how deeply pa­tri­archy is en­trenched in most so­ci­eties around the world. It didn’t take long for those who be­lieve in this sta­tus quo to make their voices heard, hi­jack­ing the hash­tag to em­pha­sise the po­si­tion they be­lieve Nige­rian women should stay in. It seems that what hap­pens when top­ics like these catch global at­ten­tion, is that women are chal­lenged to iden­tify their own misog­yny, too, ef­fec­tively un­learn­ing the things they have been taught and shak­ing off so­ci­etal norms to cre­ate their own new stan­dards. Women must be­lieve in their in­her­ent worth. That they are valu­able and have some­thing gen­uine and unique to con­trib­ute that goes be­yond their roles as care­givers and clean­ers. While Nige­rian women have cre­ated new aware­ness around their strug­gles, the chal­lenge of be­ing a woman any­where in the world be­gins at birth. And there is no re­prieve, even though it can be ex­haust­ing at times. But it is dif cult to iden­tify where the re­spon­si­bil­ity for change lies – yet it is im­por­tant to ac­knowl­edge that it is with ev­ery­one. It is up to us all to talk, to en­gage, to lis­ten and, most im­por­tantly, to seek to un­der­stand so we can cre­ate a new path go­ing for­ward.

WOMEN MUST BE­LIEVE IN THEIR IN­HER­ENT WORTH

Au­thor Chi­ma­manda Ngozi Adichie

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