Posts in Just Living

On Gender Equality and Lip Service: Beyond the Pay Gap

Women deserve equal pay for equal work.
You know, she deserves to have a baby without sacrificing her job. A mother deserves a day off to care for a sick child or sick parent without running into hardship. And you know what, a father does too. It is time to do away with workplace policies that belong in a “Mad Men” episode.
– President Barack Obama

In the last few years much has been said about trying to close the gap between working conditions and expectations for men and women. You know how it’s so cool for a man to take time off work once in a while to attend Open Day at his child’s school, but if a woman did as she is naturally expected to, it would be asking for too much too often?

Many women groups and mentoring programs have sprung up in the last few years to address this. These programs take on different shapes and forms – you may get assigned a professional mentor who has probably gained experience in your area of specialization and who is supposed to be able to teach you the ropes. She’s also supposed to teach you how to be a superwoman – to combine family and a successful career.
Here’s why I have questions: Many women are managers, employers of labour, decision makers, heads of human resources in their respective organizations. So why is it still so hard to help other women progress or get better working conditions for the women who work under them. It’s because as it is with many other things, there’s a lot of motion and no movement, and I dare say plenty of lip service. Its easy to step into a power suit and step on a platform and talk about wage gap and how we wish it were easier for women to grow their careers while raising their families, and then go right back to the office and be the ice queen that no woman would dare ask for half a day off because she wants to attend her daughter’s recital. It’s also easy to talk about how it’s important to have a work life balance when raising children but complain that work is suffering when someone is asking for an extra month of maternity leave, albeit unpaid, so she can bond with her baby.
I’m treading carefully here, seeing as I don’t have kids yet and I have not been in the position to actively steer a company’s HR policies as I would. I’m also not trying to rubbish the work of women who dedicate their time and effort to mentoring other women and help them on their respective career journeys. It’s a lot of work.
I’m just saying here that if we paid a little more attention and showed a little more empathy to the women around us, perhaps we would advance our own cause faster than if we spoke empty words. Start where you are. Mentor the women around you, create a warmer workplace. By doing this you create a domino effect where women naturally show empathy towards other women and are sensitive to the dynamics of work-life balance. If you’re head of human resources, maybe your next employee retention program/ strategy should include the idea of a creche for children of employees, maybe an extra two weeks paid maternity leave and more child friendly policies. Maybe we could all just show empathy, knowing how hard it is to juggle home and work life for women. Be the woman other women can talk to and trust.
Beyond Labour Day and International Women’s Day speeches, beyond “Lean In” book clubs and trying to chase superwoman, there’s real work to be done. And it won’t get done if we-men don’t roll up their sleeves and fight for what they should actually get. This is how progress is made.

Light a fire where you are.

Thank You

Hello you,

Yes you.

I just wanted to say “thank you” for coming here and giving me a reason to write what I write. It’s hard to come on here and talk about life, and being single, and being a christian, who is rebellious and feminist. I know that everyone has so much going for them, so the fact that you even relate enough to come by here means an awful lot.

 

I know that I don’t write enough, sometimes my heart has so much to say I can’t find the words. Sometimes there’s too many places I want to split myself into. Sometimes I just want to curl and let whatever I’m feeling wash over me.

 

But I’m here today! And I’m blessed to be doing what I do.

 

There’s so much more I would love you to experience with me.

 

Stay a little longer.

The Body Issue: The Case for Sexy

I say if I’m beautiful. I say if I’m strong. You will not determine my story — I will. I will speak and share and love and I will never apologize to the frightened millions who resent that they never had it in them to do it. I stand here and I am amazing, for you. Not because of you. I am not my weight. I am not my mother. I am myself. And I am all of you, and I thank you. – Amy Schumer

I like to think that my body is stuck in the year I turned 23, save for a little weight loss. I’m a 5ft 4 pear shaped woman woman who has a 27 inch waist and 42 inch hips. That ratio is curvy by any standard, and is particularly seen as desirable and sexy in these parts. But yeah, i think I’d be considered sexy.

 

Sexy. That word is hella confusing. Lately I’ve read articles where men (Reno Omokri I’m talking to you) claim that it is better to be beautiful than sexy. Problem is the word “sexy” is in itself subjective. Sexy may be interpreted as meaning sexually attractive, and we all know that what one person finds sexually attractive may be repulsive to another person. So while one person is drooling, another person is going “eww”. For instance, some men say they are “Ass men” while others say they are “Boobs Men”. And that’s fine. So for starters the notion of telling women to intentionally not be sexy is ridiculous, seeing as we don’t necessarily set these standards.

 
Before I became curvy, I was straight, like the letter “I” and I still got cat called and propositioned. (To put things in perspective, I weighed 45kg till I was 22). I remember the Non-Academic staff who worked in a Exams and Records and all but threatened me because I’d need him since I was in my final year. And then the senior citizen at NYSC who was to help with my redeployment to Lagos but chose instead to invite me to come and rendezvous with him at Rita Lori Hotel. Then there was the man who gave me a lift once on my way to my grandma’s house and managed to tell me during the short drive that he wanted to “lick me like a tom-tom”. At this time I was about 40kg and struggling to fill up UK 8 pants. That was before all the curves.

 
Now post curves: I understand that I can wear the exact same dress as my slimmer friends and look like I’m tricking, so I’m a little careful with my style. Clothes will naturally cling and then my skirt will probably ride up my hips. However, your perception is entirely yours. I remember once I wanted to buy a pair of jeans with a back zipper and my then boyfriend told me that that was why I always got harassed. It didn’t make a lot of sense at the time but I didn’t argue. In the last few years, my personality has also grown a lot. I grew from loving my body to trying to hide it under long shirts and tunics to realizing that I am a goddess, and then trying to be modest again for these earthlings. Right now, I’m in the “whatever” phase.

 
I realize that I’m not responsible for your morality, I’m only responsible for mine. I dress as decently as a modern Christian close to 30 year-old woman should. I have a mind of my own, and such a strong sense of self, and I just let my personality shine through. When I feel the need to show a little décolleté I do. When I think I should show my legs, I do. When I want to wear fitted clothes, I do. Somedays I wake up and decide that I want to dress sexy, and I do. Somedays I want to look like a bum, I can pull that off too. Somedays, I want to be a tom-boy, and on other days I want to look like I stepped right out of Aso-Ebi Bella Instagram feed into real life. I can do all of that if I want too. I dress up for myself, so it’s never about who sees me or who doesn’t. If you decide to ogle, that’s on you. If you want to catcall, please go on. If you find me sexy or your husband or boyfriend or brother, that’s on you or them. I will wear whatever I want to wear as much as my religious views permit, but I will not be held responsible for your lack of self control.

 
And sorry I’m not sorry about not fitting in the little box you made for me. I am beautiful, undoubtedly. If you find me “sexy”, let’s talk about what was going on in your head when you were looking at me. If my body makes you uncomfortable, either as a man or as a woman on behalf of her man, my bad. You should look away.