Sometimes defining moments come around. And they are undeniable. Right now, in the US, the land of my birth, a defining moment around women and girls is happening. It extends so far beyond a political campaign, an election, it extends into what the moral fiber of our nation, what our national identity will be surrounding treatment of women and girls moving forward.
I was born in the US but raised on the continent of Africa. Inside my home, I was allowed to be outspoken and assertive, I was encouraged to believe in myself, in my own capabilities, I was instilled with a clear concept of my own worth, and with an understanding that my body belonged to me. Outside of my home, I experienced a starkly different reality. Women and girls were expected to play second fiddle to men, to acquiesce and quieten their own voice in the face of that of a man’s. Women were undervalued and diminished. I grew an outrage around this inequality, even as a young girl. Unfortunately, that outrage is constantly re-ignited. I always looked to the US, as did many, as a place where women’s voices and rights were far more protected, where I could perhaps, one day live more freely as a woman. I returned to the US as a young adult and did indeed find it was a freer society for women, struggles were still being fought but definitely far more ground had been covered.