Tuesday, 18 June 2013


It’s painful to see powerful ladies in tertiary institutions falling prey to social ills such as prostitution, abortion, drug and substance abuse and many others. They are supposed to be the enlightened ones, they hear or read stories of the downfall of those who have walked in these footsteps before but they still follow behind blindfolded. A set of words that are usually uttered when one is caught under these circumstances are “I had no choice”. This statement is invalid there is always a choice, it depends on which one you want to choose and most of the times ladies tend to take the easy way out and these simple mistakes that we can avoid have the power to take away what you are meant to be.

There are choices that are not worth choosing in this world such as abortion or suicide. Everything happens for a reason, the darkest hour is at dawn and from each tear we cry we should derive a lesson. Falling down doesn’t demarcate the end of the  journey, you just have to know how to get up, dust yourself and keep moving forward. Mistakes do not define a person but their level of perseverance doesn’t which is determined by the choices that they make. Wisdom and strength are nothing if channelled in the wrong direction. But who determines what’s wrong and what’s right, well that’s a discussion for another day. As it is in this context one can say that the right choices are the ones that won’t haunt you in the future, the ones you’ll be glad you made, it’s a matter of living life without regrets. It is these regrets that we have in life that make one think they aren’t good enough, they pull you down, leaving shades of guilt beneath shame, self-esteem is affected, and self-confidence also suffers.

Climbing the ladder of success is not a walk in the park and it becomes even more burdensome to the girl child as she is carrying social and natural on her shoulders, after all the society still perceives her as a female. Gender mainstreaming is a very good move towards women empowerment but it’s not all that is needed. Women empowerment has to start from the grassroots level, that is to say the society has to begin looking at a woman as a human being and not a tool for baby making, housework and gossiping.

This also brings to light the issue of roles; it’s natural for women to care, they were naturally blessed with social, productive and reproductive roles and for that they should be respected. On top of that they want their potentials to be realised, when they step on podiums or enter the boardroom it would be preferable for people not to start by scrutinising and judging their dressing, actions or who they are going out with but it’s important for people to listen to gain meaning from their presentation. This small aspect that people don’t usually take heed of can be the beginning of total women empowerment.

Empowerment begins with an individual and it should be noted that this individual shouldn’t be the next person but the self. The way an individual empowers herself is evident in the self-confidence and self-esteem that one portrays as she walks round. At the end of the day it then boarders down to the choices that a lady makes because they define who she is, they determine her level of success and happiness.  Usually when people make decisions they have a tendency of looking at two extreme conditions which are either to consider what society would say or not to consider the next person at all. Self-empowerment commences when a person learns to differentiate between constructive and destructive criticism. It begins when a person recognises that their life is a story in the making. Self-empowerment is made possible when one decides to better their lives strengthening the positives and working on their negatives. More self-knowledge helps us make better choices and understand our reactions towards others. Above all it is important to know our priorities and be knowledgeable on how to set them straight.

Challenges will come along, they always do, the pain the sorrows may linger as much as joys and jubilation are sure to come along too. The key is to know how to react in these situations and which choices to make. Three things that never come back in life when gone are time, words and opportunity. We live in the present, let’s make the most of it and though the past is gone the future is certain and it’s a challenge that we must meet. Instances of people tracing other people’s footsteps without success or a different outcome have become very common. Why not write your own story that tells of a legend in the making? As I said before every life story is different because we are all are different but the concepts remain the same.

Often times we have heard the words, “Be the change you want to see”. Thus to say women empowerment begins with self-empowerment. Believe in yourself for people to start believing in you. It’s a long walk to freedom and it isn’t an easy path to follow, keep your eyes on the price, you’ll find out that the destination isn’t that far away after all. Take the lead, keep your head up, walk tall, and smile, it only takes a spark to make a fire, it only takes a female student to achieve the international goal of total women empowerment.   
By Thando Gwinji
Solusi University

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