CONVERSATION WITH A MOTHER

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Mothers are the real deal. I mean they are the parent that every child wanna get permission from in order to do something. Personally, I believe mothers are the backbones of the family. They are always there to keep everything on track. BUT.. they can taaaaaaalk lool (African mothers can talk I’m not even gonna lie). I am gonna be a mother one day.. actually soon.. very soon. So I decided to have a conversation with a mother and get to understand what it is like to be one.

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Aunty Jackie

1. what do you like the most about being a mother?

I love the bond I share with my daughter the most. That unconditional love between a mother and child is an amazing feeling. Her smile is precious and I’m truly blessed to have been entrusted by God to nurture her to what He has destined her to be.

2. How is it like being an African mother living outside of Africa?

it’s a challenge raising a child outside Ghana. Back home we would have had the whole family helping to raise her. Babysitting would be much easier where as here it’s hard and costly. I find that it’s a bit hard incorporating our own traditions and culture here in England so as a parent if you’re not persistent and firm, the child will grow up without knowing any of it’s original roots.
It’s been a bit easier for me because I’m all about my culture and traditions but with my daughter being in school with other people it was a challenge to find fun ways of introducing her to everything.

3. What has motherhood taught you about yourself?

That I have absolutely no patience but over the years she has taught me exercise patience in all circumstances. I’ve learnt also of my own strengths and weaknesses. I’m stronger than I give myself credit for and I keep persevering no matter the challenges ahead.

4. Is there anything you don’t like about being a mother?

Nothing really, I love the good, the bad and the ugly. It’s all part of what makes it worth it.

 5. Do you think you can do anything different now to make motherhood better for you?

To trust God more and learn from my mistakes.

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From left to right- Aunty Jackie, her daughter Meredith and her mother.

6. What do you think about feminism as a mother?

I honestly believe women should have equal rights as men but I also believe that a Christian woman will know her place at home. Women are helpmates and not equal to their spouses so while we are fighting for everything to be equal, we also need to know how to play our roles at home in order to avoid crossing boundaries that can cause havoc to our happiness.

7. How do you see your position in society as women?

Some years ago a woman’s role was to marry, have children and stay at home to raise the children while the husband went to fend for his family. Nowadays women are getting degrees, having a career and raising amazing children married or not. Times have changed so much that women are doing more than deemed fit. I think times have changed where women were looked down on but are encouraged to explore all their potentials. In a whole, we contribute to the society by raising good children in the home who contribute positively to the betterment of society as a whole.

8. What do you think about the perceptions regarding motherhood in society lately? For example; there are a lot of talks on maternity leave and women and men getting the same maternity leave and equal pay. As an African woman, does any of this affect you?

I personally think maternity leave should be for the women to decide on if they want to share with their spouses.
I took a year off work to be with my daughter when she was born and even that wasn’t enough when I resumed work. It’s hard leaving a little one who depends on you behind so it should be a personal choice. Some women are capable of resuming work six weeks after childbirth while others struggle after a year so it should be a choice rather than an imposed one. I do believe that men should be entitled to their normal two weeks paternity leave though.

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Aunty Jackie’s mother

9. What has your mum taught you that you are teaching your child?

To solely depend on God. Everything about my mum is God centred and that is what I want to teach my daughter. For her to know that no matter how good or bad things get, her love for and trust in God should never waiver.

Thank you for sharing your experience of motherhood with me.

 

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100 YEARS LATER…

OK so I walk into the office this morning and a co-worker comes up to me and gives me a handshake whilst wishing me congratulations that women were given the right to vote 100 years today. I said thank you because I was not about to take him to feminist school by educating him on how the suffragettes fought for their rights and thus it was not an achievement. It was 8am in the morning and I had just spoken to my father God about my day so I was not about to ruin it.

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photo credit: google images.

So then it came to me, why don’t I just write about it? So Im gonna do just that. First of all, yes it is 100 years ago today that women age 30 and owned a property were given the right to vote in elections in the UK. I mean all the members of the suffragettes had to endure so much just for their views as citizens of the country to also be seen as credible to a bunch of men sitting in parliament.

The suffragettes indeed paved the way for modern western feminism. However, I do not think what they did is an achievement (in the way we generally understand achievement) and I am going to explain why.

These brave women realised the importance of their womanity being acknowledged and thus decided to take action. It’s like someone demanding for justice to be served against a thieve who stole something from him/her- its not an achievement, it is their right as a citizen in a civil society to see justice served fairly. So the suffragettes were trying to bring humanity back to their senses because like seriously… who even came up with the idea that women shouldn’t be given the right to vote? It sounds so uneducated and just strange. Women are rational beings like men so I don’t understand how men were seen as able to choose political representatives but women weren’t.

And the most worrying part of this all is that even after 100 years of these women risking their lives to make a way for women; gender inequalities are still prevalent in society. Women are still seen as second class citizens in many parts of the world for reasons I still do not understand because they do not make sense at all. Women are still being abused based on the factor that they are women. Even worse, in other parts of the world, it is still being debated if girls should be given the chance to go to school. – Like seriously?

But you know what, on this day, I’m going to happy myself knowing that there are people all over the world working so hard to ensure that women and girls are fully counted as part of humanity.

So cheers (I’m drinking peppermint tea right now) to me being a great African woman from Ghana who loves women and is going to do everything according to the will of God to see girls and women do well in every area of social life.

And cheers to every woman! Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, Thank you for being a woman and remember you can achieve anything! Let us keep fighting for the human rights of every woman to be acknowledged.

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Why am I still a feminist in 2018?

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photo credit: google images.

The answer to this is that- I will never stop being a feminist because I get the privilege to stand for equality, I get the opportunity to call out men and women out on direct and indirect acts of discrimination and inequality. As well, as a feminist in this era where people blindly think that women are now equal to men so we don’t need all this talk on feminism, I get to write and tell people no.

Let me tell you something, the difference between the positions of women now compared to that of 1926 is that- now there are laws that actually says you can’t fire a woman from a job because she is pregnant. And the heart breaking part about this is that these laws are mainly in the so-called developed parts of the world where most of the female population are educated. I mean I don’t think it’s all rosy in Europe and the land of the free (that’s the undeserved nickname of the USA) because direct and indirect inequalities are still skyrocketing in lots of institutions there.

Today alone, I have read 3 articles published online on sexual harassment and abuse against women; and remember, these are the ones that are reported. So imagine all the abuse some women will face today by men in their lives and men they do not know all because they are women and you and I will never hear anything about it.

Now I tell you again, I will never stop being a feminist because we are in 2018 and some men still think the best way to get a woman to listen to him is by getting in her face and shouting at her and telling her he will beat her and get away with it.

A few days ago,  I almost cried when I saw a video of a man who got in the face of Lydia Forson (Ghanaian actress) and threatened to beat her because she was gathering evidence of the sexist nature of the man in question.

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Lydia Forson- Ghanaian actress photo credit: google images

Let me just pause here for a second and tell you how technology has somehow helped women- Lydia knew straight away that to be able to take this incident to the authorities, or even tell her fans on social media about it- she would need proof because of course nobody would believe a woman telling them that a man physically, verbally or emotionally abused her without proof! Having a phone allowed Lydia to show what had happened to her.

Secondly, technology through social media has given women multiple platforms to share their stories and call out on any form of abuse against them.

Thirdly, technology from a personal point of view has given women more confidence to be women because nowadays, there are lots of women behind their phones and laptops ready to rain on your parade if you ever get it twisted on your dealings with the female population. I love technology for all these reasons.

Now back to me forever being a feminist- most women in 2018 are still encountering abuse and discrimination in all areas of life. What some people don’t seem to understand is that, if the reason for a human being suffering any pain whether it be physical or not is due to their biological sex then as a society we are not developed and we are on the verge of failure. I say we are on the verge of failure because despite all the bad things in this world… God has still blessed us with meat pies, bofrot, waakye (amazing Ghanaian dishes), Shea butter and green tea so we haven’t completely failed as a human race.

And just a quick reminder for anyone who has forgotten or does not know at all… the development of girls and women in all areas of social life is a key factor to national development in every country according to the UN and other developmental studies academics. So I don’t care how high up on the list of OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries your nation finds itself; if women and girls are still suffering from gender inequalities in that country then it is not developed.

I can just keep writing because we are only 25 days into 2018 but a day has not gone by where I have not read about a woman being subjected to some form of abuse or discrimination just because she is a woman.

In a few years’ time, I am going to bring children into this world and I am going to have to help my sons and daughters understand how this world has been trying to put women like their mother in a box to fit some silly socially constructed ideas about gender. After I do that, I will spend the rest of my life with the help of God to bring my children up to be great men and women… then we will just have generations of great men and women. Oh how I cannot wait.

 

A few stories in the past few days about girls and women being abused around the world

A 7 year old girl raped and killed in Pakistan:

Murder, rape of 7-year-old Pakistan girl sparks protests around country

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2018/01/11/this-tv-anchor-held-her-little-girl-on-the-air-to-protest-the-rape-of-a-7-year-old/?utm_term=.423a0da9afc9

New mothers in Kenya allegedly being raped in hospitals: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-42746179

https://www.usnews.com/news/news/articles/2018-01-23/kenyans-accuse-largest-hospital-of-rape-abuse-of-patients

A group of women gets groped in Dorchester hotel in London at a ‘fancy’ charity event:

http://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/uknews/men-only-inside-the-charity-fundraiser-where-hostesses-are-put-on-show/ar-AAv4UeR?li=AAmiR2Z&ocid=ientp

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WOMEN of the year 2017.

OK so 2017 is finally over! I’m really happy that it is because I feel like 2017 was just like in a rush to finish. In my personal life, I felt like I had so much to do in the year 2017 that I was always rushing to get something done so that I could start on the next thing. However, I had a really good year overall and I achieved so much and I give thanks to God because He really showed me what I am capable of doing when I lean on him and not depend on my own strength or understanding. God is real ya’ll.

Anyway, lemme move on to what this post is actually about. OK so today I was just thinking back through 2017 and all the people I met and the influence they had in my life. I have an amazing group of friends and during the year 2017 they all really influenced me in positive ways. However, there are some women I know who really made a big impact in my life in the year 2017. The beautiful thing about them is that they all did not even know that their lives were influencing me to be great in every way possible. So the rest of this post will be about my 5 women influencers of the year 2017.

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Miss Goldust Afriyie
  1. Number one on the list is Miss Goldust Afriyie. OK this young woman… her name alone should make you aware of her integrity and radiance. She is so caring and selfless. I have never really met anybody as honest as Goldust and that is the truth. I have been friends with her for the past 2-3 years and she is always honest. One thing I admire about her is her transparency. She says it as it is and there is no beating around the bush. Throughout the year 2017, one very important lesson I learnt from her was to give to others whom could not necessarily give back to you. This selfless act of giving is one thing I have learned from my friend and sistter Goldust aka golding gold with a bit of golden dust. OH and she is a model! my friend is a model people.
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Miss Angela Akosua Owusu-Sekyere

2. Number 2 is Miss Angela Akosua Owusu-Sekyere! My God this woman is after God’s own heart. No like literally, she is chasing after God’s heart and it is so beautiful to see a young woman of her caliber be so grounded in God. Angela’s relationship with God is one thing you notice when you meet her and it is very cool to see it so vividly. The first time I met her I was so shy of her because even the way she walks, you can see God in there (its that deep OK?) And to raise the bar even higher, she is a pharmacist and a youtuber and she runs a blog called: thebeautifulwomanofworth! Her youtube channel is called “Her Walk TV” where she talks about her walk with Jesus and it is so inspiring. She is a very beautiful young woman with a God ordained mission to share the good news! check out her youtube channel and blog and be inspired.

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Miss Akosua Afrakoma Peprah

3. Number 3 of my top 5 women influencers of 2017 is Miss Akosua Peprah. Miss Akosua is an eloquent feminist! I feel like I could just end it there because well, being an eloquent feminist is a very big deal. However, Miss Akosua is also a really good writer with so much passion for the work that she does and it is clearly evident in everything she produces. Miss Peprah is a big advocate for the education of African girls and women because she believes that education in all aspects of life will help women achieve anything they want. Oh and I forgot to mention that she is such a bad ass at what she does that she is the founder and president of Mmaakunim Foundation which is an organisation with the vision of educating, creating avenues and making resources available to marginalized women in Ghana. The first time I came across her on Instagram, I became so mesmerized that I followed her on all social media platforms and I told a friend of mine that “I just found this lady on Instagram who is a Ghanaian and a feminist and eloquent!” For a while now, I’ve had the privilege to be part of the great vision of Mmaakunim foundation. So yes. I am working with Miss Akosua Peprah and I am going to be spending time with her, doing feminist stuff and being great and learning a lot from her. One thing she said in 2017 that made me aware that she is a woman of influence is that: “I am going to name my daughter Akosua Peprah jnr…” Miss Akosua is here on this earth to impact generations and we all need to just get ready for it.

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Mrs Sarah Senyah

4. Number 4 on my list of women influencers of the year 2017 is Mrs Sarah Senya. Now this woman throughout the year I have been studying her a lot and I have learnt so much from her that I am going to do an entire feature on her. She is a mother, a wife and a very busy financier at a top bank in the UK. Oh and did I mention she is the music leader at my local church? Yes, she leads the choir at my church every Sunday and she is a deaconess as well. When I’m with her, we often talk about marriage and the importance of finding a man who knows and love God as a suitable life partner. She has a super crazy faith in God and her commitment to the work of God in the church and serving others is really influential. She is very elegant in the way she carries herself (you should see her walk whilst carrying her child). One thing she said in 2017 that influenced me was that “Marry a man who can pray when you don’t have any strength to or even when you don’t feel like it”. Oh and her husband is very handsome so she’s basically got it all.

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Mrs Priscilla Ayim

5. Finally, number 5 on the list of women influencers of the year 2017 is Mrs Priscilla Ayim. Before I start writing how great of a woman she is, I really feel like we should all stand up and give her a standing ovation.. Ok, so Mrs Ayim is just the real MVP. She is a great young woman of God and she is a new mummy with the most beautiful baby girl. Mrs Ayim is married and she is a graduate of Sociology and Psychology; with a Master’s degree in Social work. Okay, so Mrs Ayim used to help me when I was at university and I remember she would proof read my work and point out even the tiniest mistakes because she was not ready for me to produce my essays anyhow. She has a really accommodating character and you just naturally feel welcome around her. One thing I have noticed about her as well is her calm nature. She is very calm and collected. I look up to her a lot because God is at the foundation of everything she does and due to that she is winning in all aspects of life. Oh, one more thing… She is just beautiful and she loves God… Have I already mentioned that? Well She loves God. She is a woman of influence because she is living for God and she is not afraid to show it!

I learnt so much from so many women during the year 2017 and I am so proud to be a woman and to be surrounded by amazing women who are making impact in people’s lives. Whoever you are, I hope that you make an impact in people’s lives so that one day someone will say that you made a mark on this earth by influencing them.

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God loves FEMINISTS.

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image credit: Huffington Post

OK.. so before I start being a feminist in this post, lemme just lay down the truth for you all.

I am a christian .i.e. I am a child of God and I love Jesus and I pray every time about everything and my ultimatum is to be able to spend eternal life in heaven with Jesus and God and all the angels. So I am a woman with a super crazy faith in God like mama Gifty Anti would say.

However, being a Christian does not make me blind to social issues. YAAAS! I said it and I’m gonna say it again for the people at the back… Being a woman of God does not make me blind and deaf to social issues.

As a Christian, I am always asking God what my role is in this world because I am clearly put here for a purpose. One of the main reasons why I am a christian and a feminist is because God tells me everyday that I am destined to be great.

So then I’m like but God if I was born to be great… how come I live in a world where my skin colour and my vagina are seen as characteristics of failure?. I literally asked God that question once. From that day, I knew that God had granted me the opportunity to do something about society’s lack of knowledge on women and our God ordained positions in the world.

So yeah, I am a feminist not because I hate men or whatever some people think feminism is about. Firstly, I am privileged to be a child of God and be given the voice to speak up when things are not right. And also as a woman, I don’t think being able to have babies should automatically turn me into a breeding machine who cannot work and get equal pay  to men.

It may sound strange but I pray everyday to God about being a feminist and how I don’t want to be angry about society’s mediocrity; but to make me more and more knowledgeable and approachable to everyone because I stand for equality for all.

At the same time, I ask God for motivation and determination each day to be a great woman by loving other women and accepting their differences, as well as helping them to acknowledge that their womanity is actually synonymous to greatness regardless of what anybody has to say.

Before I finish this post, I am going to say it one more time- I am a christian who is a feminist, who loves men and believe women are great in everything like men.

Now let us take it to church and start taking the tithes and offering from the back!!

The Anatomy of My Big Tall BLACK Body

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I love my body- take it how you want to take it but I do not have any problem with my body. I say this with much confidence because I believe it has taken me about 5 years to come to the realization that I was born this way (Lady Gaga would be very happy to read this right now).

Let me explain-When I was 13 years old, I attended a high school where being a TALL, BIG, BLACK, FEMALE was a very big problem for all the average height, thin, blonde/brunette hair white females and males.

From that point, I started to question everything about the way I look- the colour and texture of my hair, the shape of my body, the sound of my voice (I have a very deep voice for a girl), my height, the colour of my skin… the list goes on and on.

At one point, I remember I lost so much weight due to wanting to be skinny like every girl in my year 10 class that my mum took me to the hospital out of fear of being anorexic.

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This was me in January 2011. I was a size 6-8

This craziness of wanting to look like everyone else continued until I went back to Ghana for Christmas in 2010. I remember all my aunties and cousins were just disgusted with how skinny I had gotten (by the way in Ghana, my family and probably a lot Ashanti people associate being big with living a good life).

I remember one evening, my mum and my grandma sat me down and they told me that I am so beautiful and unique because I am tall and I have smooth black skin and I have a big bum and most importantly, I have an amazing voice because it is bold and clear (I think I need to be a radio presenter because of my voice).

I think since that day, I slowly began taking care of my body instead of hating it. So I say I love my body because I have the privilege of taking care of it. The thing is I don’t even remember the last time I said “I hate my body”, because the way I see it; If I do not like something about my body.. I am in a position where I can do something about it. For example; If i think  I’m putting on a bit of weight, I assess what it is making me put on weight then I take action by doing something about it.

Personally, I thank God for the mind that he has given me because I know that having a positive mind takes you a long way. Also, self love is KEY! Love yourself. I mean do not be ignorant about it but love yourself and learn how to appreciate the beauty in yourself and everybody. The thing about loving my body is when someone close to me is not feeling so confident about their body, I try my best to help by encouraging them to take control of their body and take action!

So yeah. love your body, love yourself and take action!.

W.O.M.A.N.

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Being a woman…..

OK so I am a woman (its sooo obvious). I mean my body makes it very clear that I am a woman (especially when it is that time of the mo.. yeah you know it).

One thing that I am very aware of is that being a woman is very interesting… to me being a woman is like a child’s first day at school. The parents are so excited because it is a new phase in the child’s life and they are going to meet new people and learn new things. At the same time, deep down the parents have to face the fact that their child is going into a world outside the home where they may not have that much control over what the child hears or sees.

Personally, as a woman, I am always so excited because I see the potential that I have to do great things; as well as the opportunities that come my way on a daily basis.

HOWEVER, deep down in my soul I know that as a woman there are certain limitations that society wants me to succumb to in order to be seen as a “good woman”. Even more, as a Black African woman, there are some people in society who think that I have to be eternally culturally bound if I ever wanna make it big in this world.

Don’t get me wrong, being a woman is like the best thing to ever happen to me since rice and spinach stew (one of my favorite foods). Nonetheless, sometimes I just think about how it can be seen as so unusual for a woman to want to pursue certain career choices or not want to do something that are known to be social norms for women.

The thing is, as a woman, I know I was created for a specific purpose and God being who He is will make sure I fulfill that purpose for his glory. But I really do not like how society has been able to turn our God given roles as helpers into some “without men you cannot survive” group.

The position of women has changed immensely since my grandmother was born and I get to benefit by being able to explore my womanity in my own way. On the other hand, women are still not seen as equal to men in many parts of the world and it is very upsetting. The humanity of women NEED TO BE RECOGNIZED before anything else because if God in his greatness recognize us women as human beings.. then who is anybody else to say otherwise.

If you are a woman, I pray that each and everyday you wake up, you get to see the great things you have been called on this earth to do. Whether your life goal is to become a mother, a wife, a pilot, a baker, or a president (just don’t become like Tru.. I wont even write his name).. get to know yourself well as a woman and go out there and be great.