How growing up in Africa as a woman shapes you

Fight for equality requires thick skin and unity

In Summary

• Being an African woman is an extreme sport, with ceiling breakers an inspiration

• The African girl goes through a lot even when she becomes a fully grown woman

African women chat on a bench
African women chat on a bench

In the spirit of celebrating International Women’s Day, this month, we are celebrating women.

Happy Women’s Month to all the women and girls in the world.

As we narrow it down, Happy Women’s Month to the women and girls of our country, Kenya.

One thing I always love telling myself is that I am lucky to be a young woman, of Kenyan descent, hailing from Africa.

If I was born in another life, I would still want to be born as a black woman from Africa.

I am equally proud that I am a woman.

Being an African woman is an extreme sport, if you ask me.

It is not easy being an African woman, but as they say in Kiswahili, lazima uwe na ngozi ngumu kama ya mamba (You should have thick skin like that of a crocodile).

The African girl goes through a lot, and even when she becomes a fully grown woman, she is not spared.

But the fact that nothing deters her is what makes it really amazing.

Watching women break ceilings wherever they go is always something I admire.

In whatever field they are in, they equally stand out.

We have fought so hard to have an equal share at the table, and I am sure our ancestors are proud of the far we have come.

The fight doesn’t end as we are still not yet there, but the progress is angled at an upward trajectory.

As we preserve some of our cultural norms, we strive to make sure that the African woman is considered an equal.

On the same track, we do away with some norms against women and girls that we deem unfair and equally outdated.

I remember recently attending a forum where we were taken through advocacy for equality for women and girls.

Every woman in the room had an #IamRemarkable moment, and we momentarily shared amongst ourselves some of the ways societal and cultural norms held us back.

After talking about it, we then shared how we broke the links, changed the narrative and those became our remarkable moments.

It is not often that a girl or a woman makes it and she is honoured for doing something.

As a girl and as a woman, it is very okay to have your moments of fame and praise yourself, even though society deems self-praise inappropriate.

I learnt that sometimes, not everyone will be there to see what you have or will do that will be your remarkable moment, but you saw it happening and you felt happy and fulfilled.

Being remarkable holds you accountable for how you handle yourself as a woman.

The exercise made me realise that I may not always get a pat on the back for the remarkable moments I have achieved, but I can as well pat myself on the back.

There is always the existing saying that women are their own worst enemies, but also women are their own best friends.

Overlooking the negatives, the power that comes when women unite is incredible.

Our young girls need to be brought up in an environment where as they grow, they learn that as much as they might fall out with one another sometimes, the power of women being united is incredibly awesome.

Props to our mothers for mentoring and nurturing remarkable girls who turn out to be remarkable women.

This is already a clear case of a woman supporting the growth of another woman.

Being a month for women, let us celebrate every girl and woman in her own space who is doing remarkable things.

Let’s celebrate that African woman for who she is and welcome equality in our spaces.

WATCH: The latest videos from the Star