According to a 2020 women’s empowerment index, only 29% of women between the ages of 15 and 49 are empowered in Kenya. This disheartening statistics, drawn from factors including income and social resources, was reported at a time when Kenyan women continue to defy negative gender rhetoric - by proving it is possible to live out dreams. While dreams differ from person to person, one thing is clear – it requires courage.
For decades, women have fought for their rightful place in society and today, the fight continues through powerful movements - #BlackExcellence #HereToBeHeard #BlackGirlMagic, among others. These movements are giving women an opportunity to rise and identify with a different kind of ‘woke’ – one defined by wanting better, doing better and being better. We live in a world where our cultural conditioning sometimes makes women question their beauty, purpose, relevance and strength; but one of the most powerful things a woman can do is to vocalize herself. Such is authentically displayed by Kanze Dena, Spokesperson, Executive Office of the President, Republic of Kenya and Head of PSCU, whose vocalized experiences have anchored her to distinction and inspired many.
A woman’s power is founded on wounds and healing. Therefore, there is no shame in wanting better, being better and doing better. It is not a comparison between you and others, but an inward acknowledgement that there needs to be growth versions of yourself from past, current to future. If you are wounded, the climb will not be easy, but you must climb and maintain.
Ladies, the life you seek will not bear tangible results if your mindset does not evolve by learning from the ‘has been’ and preparing for the ‘will be’. View life like a never-ending chess game. Goal is to protect the queen, as whichever direction you choose to move, determines the destiny of the Queen – you.
Progress and accomplishment require one to rise above mediocrity in the way you carry yourself, live life and respond to life’s circumstances. We live in an era where it's easy to tweet #blackgirlmagic or #blackgirlexcellence but hard to put in the work required to reach that level. Stepping up your game needs you to create an environment within and around you that enhances your probability to live your dreams.
Are there inequalities, inequalities, injustices that hinder progress and opportunities? Yes, yet we must use those frustrations to rise. We cannot live in fear. We cannot be comfortable with just applauding those achieving their dreams. Surely, while we might be comfortable where we are, you cannot afford to abandon the hopes, dreams and aspirations. You alone, have the greatest responsibility to play in your life to allow you to thrive in society.
As the sun rises and sets, destiny gives us a chance to steer our lives in the direction of our dreams, woe unto us if we falter. I know the temptation to be complacent and give up seems like an easier road, but we must find the courage to do what we must to live our dreams. So, fix your crown, take your rightful place and start somewhere without apologies!
Linda Okero is a communications and development enthusiast who has been enhancing socio-economic transformation over the last seven years in the Micro-Finance, Government, Business Acceleration and Advocacy space. She has served in various capacities and been instrumental in the development of strategic sustainable agendas focusing on inclusive development.
Linda is passionate about creating opportunities that will enable youth to actively engage in issues that affect them at local and regional levels through mindset and behavioral growth. She is the Coordinator of the UNCTAD Youth Action Hub – Kenya, a YALI Alumni and Associate Fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society. Her vision is to inspire peers to rise and break barriers for social and economic transformation.