Imagine a woman who authors her own life
9 August in South Africa serves as a reminder of how far we have come and have left to go: that is, to live in a world that is safe, just and equitable for everyone. It is also a day when we celebrate progress and achievements of women and girls in South Africa. It is a time where we focus our collective attention on the challenges of gender-based violence, women in leadership roles and access to economic opportunities.
World Economic Forum’s 2016 Gender Gap Report estimates that it will take about 117 years for the world to close the gender gap (116 years in 2017). 2132 is more than a decade away and these numbers can be very disheartening – especially to a young woman living in areas where access to higher education is almost dismal due to affordability.
I recently worked with a group of young women of who’s challenges included domestic and drug abuse, lack of access to sanitary pads, teenage drinking & pregnancy, low self-esteem, etc. I experienced pain, frustration, and anger in their stories as I journeyed with them. I also witnessed brave women who were determined because they wanted a better future.
The frustration is real. The anger is real. A sense of hopelessness can be felt as we look at the unjust acts that still perpetuate disempowerment of women and girls.
There is no time for hopelessness though. Let’s take all that energy and meet our challenges with creativity. Let us collectively use that energy to inspire courage in communities, businesses, family units and social networks.
What can we start and continue doing?
- Celebrate the Wins – Great work has been done already. There is an increasing number of women that are becoming bolder, courageous and inspirational. There is also an opportunity to amplify success stories of regular women who are making meaningful contributions. The more success stories, the more the young girl believe it’s possible.
- Engage – Participate consciously in activities that support women empowerment – volunteer your time. It could be with your group of friends or female colleagues. Is the conversation in your circle/s growing each other? Make positive progress in your own circle of influence. We are not alone, lets learn to hold space for and anchor each other positively. Rise and raise together.
- Imagine a better future– Are you taking bold steps towards a vision that inspires you? We need to regularly take action that supports our vision. Our daily thoughts and actions are what will create the shift, the change we collectively seek. Ensure that your thoughts and actions are imagining a world that is safe for all. Imagine and radiate the possibilities.
- Self-Develop – We need to ensure that as we are looking outward for what needs to change in our world, we also need to look within ourselves. Are we empowering ourselves to step change the game? Are we taking positive developmental actions that move us closer to the change that we are collectively creating? Support yourself more and better.
Happy Women’s Day!
Together we can refashion the world by giving birth to images of inclusion, experiences of transformation and relationships of equality.
I honor you,
Bongi Mbanga Self-Leadership Coach and Facilitator
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