Today is designated International Women’s day in 2017, another day when women try to collectively fight for the right to be appreciated for bearing the weight of the world on our crumbling shoulders, for doing the most work for the littlest pay, and for being the forbearer of the human race. Today happens to be the 18thBirthday of my big baby sister, shout out to Ugochi Eunice Egole, Happy 18thBirthday sweetie!!! Consider this your best birthday gift J.
Like a lot of women, I had to grow up and make several of the mistakes other women made, because their mothers and big sisters never shared their pains and offered advice to help them avoid these pains. God blessed me with sons, but if he gave me daughters, just like my sons, I would not shield them from any of my pain. I will cry in their presence as willing as I laugh in it. I will share my mistakes with them and proffer advice on how they can avoid my mistakes. So here goes…
To my un-adopted daughter, my sisters, and all the women of the world. Today, I say as we collectively fight for equal pay for equal work, more paid maternity leave, our God given authorities over our bodies, punishment for our rapists, molesters, and abusers, the right to own property, the right to not be property, the right to keep and raise children that we bear, and the many other human rights that some of our mothers fought for all the way to their graves, we should also fight individual fights.
Let us fight the urge to procreate without first creating wealth for ourselves. When we are young and are virgins, let us say no to having sex to make our boyfriends happy, because we have learned from our big sisters that they don’t marry us or stay loyal to us, because we made them happy. Let us instead demand to be made happy first and save our virginity for the one, who first makes us happy. If we ourselves want to have sex, let us request birth control pills or insist that our partners use condoms. When we get older and see our friends putting up cute baby pictures, let us look beyond the smile to crying babies in poop diapers who will disturb our sleep, and jeopardize our social life. Let us remember how much day care cost, and how this cost has prevented other women from working and creating wealth. Let us imagine the fact that babies outgrow clothes every couple of months and how expensive this could get, then they grow and take up even more of our time and money in raising them right, clothing, and feeding them. Let us fight the urge to pro-create without first creating wealth because diapers are not as expensive as the rent or home ownership premium that goes with living next to the best schools, motherhood is years and years of sacrifice, and the hope of reaping the fruit of your labor, is hope that could go unfulfilled.
While we are refusing to procreate without first building wealth, let us also fight individually to enjoy our own company rather than start and stay in relationships that do not benefit us. In my first year in college, my sociology teacher was fixated on relationships, he made us write an essay about our ideal partner, and then from this essay we created a list of ten traits that we wanted in our ideal partner. He stressed that people who were currently in relationships (dating or married) should not write about their relationship partner but instead look only to themselves to find the qualities they would have put on their partner, if they had the ability to create the ideal partner. This exercise brought to light the fact that most women do not fully explore what they want in a partner, but rather date or / and marry someone, then try to accept whatever traits or lack of which they posses. Therefore I say to you dear women of the world, write an essay about your ideal partner and from that essay create a list of 10 qualities that you want them to possess. Hold this list dear so that when you find yourself single and all your friends are married and dating and putting up cute couple pictures on Instagram, think about how they stay up at night because their partners snores too loud or wants sex all the time. Fight hard to replace the image of their smiling face with an image of your own smiling face as you smile for the yeast infections that you are not getting all the time. Then think about the fact that they are probably using their money to pay rent, mortgage, utility, buy food, and clothes for two and smile even more, for you only have to do this for one so you can continue to build wealth for yourself.
Let us fight individually to enjoy our own company so much that we only date men who checks off a few boxes on our list. When we get into relationships, let us fight to be respected and appreciated in our relationship and our homes. Let us also fight to protect the wealth we created for ourselves because gold diggers do not apply to women only, and pre-nups can protect us just like it protects men. Let us demand equal pay for equal work in our homes, let us fight for pregnancy support and maternity leave from our partners and spouses, let us demand that they change more diapers than we do since we have done the most work to bring forth the baby. If they are gracious enough to let us stay home with our babies for as long as we want, let us fight to ensure that our work hours are logged, and our measurable tasks are tracked, so that our share of the family’s income is appropriate for the work we have put in. Let us fight individually to own property, which we worked for with our spouses. Let us also fight to ensure that if one day we have to parent our children alone due to death or divorce, that we do not end up poorer.
Recently my aunt told me that women are born poor, and we have to work harder than men to create and keep wealth for ourselves. Today, I urge all the women of the world to individually work hard to create and keep wealth for themselves so that collectively we can fight against the poverty that keep women abused and unappreciated.
Happy International Women’s Day to all my mothers, sisters, and friends! Cheers J.
Copyright Judith Adaobiihuoma Udeke