“What struck me the most while growing up was how people made it seem like it was the worst thing for my mother to have only daughters. Prayers and fasting were held for God to bless her with a son. Extended family members would berate my dad about spending so much on education for girls.
Female children’s rights to some things were questioned just because they are female human beings. I didn’t know it but I started becoming a feminist at that young age. I went through so many “you are a girl, you can’t do that” and its many variants in discrimination through secondary and university education that at a point, I couldn’t recognize it anymore and just took it as a norm.
Then I started working and went through rapid promotions. I felt great until a particular co-worker said to my face “The only reason you went through rapid promotions is that you’re a female and the boss likes you”. It hurt because I knew the work I had put in, it hurt because I knew the same colleague, who told me that, had gone rapid promotions before (based on his performance) as well. I just couldn’t understand why my gender had to come into play because I got something I truly deserved.
We can try to mince words as much as we want, but the truth remains that a lot of people do not view a male child and a female child as equal. I have put so much work into shaking off the social conditioning and have several times taken the bulls by the horn, but I am also realistic enough to know that there are so many women who are still held back by their upbringing, background and societal “norms”. These are women who grew up hearing that they are not supposed to take certain steps just because they are women.
It is not enough to create opportunities for women, we have to work towards destroying the conditioning that keeps them back from taking advantage of those opportunities.
My name is Tomisin; I identify as a woman, a passionate feminist and I believe in gender equality because I know I am equal to men and I deserve to have access to same opportunities and guilt-free freedom to choose those opportunities.
I believe in gender equality, because hey! why shouldn’t I?”
About Oluwatomisin Akingboye
Oluwatomisin is an HR professional who has a number of achievements including:
1. Incubating the HR unit of a company in the financial services industry (setting up the unit, the processes, designing the payroll structure etc).
2. Successfully performing as an Accounts Officer, despite not having prior accounting experience. She also amazingly runs a food business on the side. You can find her on Twitter: @Marrgarritah
What is #UnbowedVoices?
Read more about the campaign here: #UnbowedVoices – An Orifunke Lawal Campaign