There are so many challenges to living in South Africa and vibes are pretty negative at the moment. One hears almost daily about a friend or colleague planning to emigrate. Lately, I have been reading about the way women live in other countries, like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and many other countries. It made me contemplative about my life as a female in South Africa. I also want to make sure my perceptions are based on what is happening worldwide, not only locally.
As I read about the lives of women in other parts of the world, I got a broader perspective. In many countries, women are not allowed to vote. They are not allowed to drive. They are denied access to their children after divorce (the dad gets the kids). They cannot dress with freedom of choice. They have no voice and are not heard.
As a female in my country, I have the freedom to choose what work I want to do, and if I cannot get a job, I can be entrepreneurial. It is my choice as a woman how and where I want to work and make money.
That brings me to the topic of money. We can open bank accounts, make money, save money, invest money and spend money. I can be the madam of my own money. Many of my sisters in other countries of the world cannot open bank accounts. And have no say over the money they make if they have the freedom even to work.
I can choose who I want to marry. My father did not choose my husband for me. As a free woman in South Africa, I can even decide to divorce my husband and marry another one if I want to. I got to date before I get married and did not meet my husband for the first time on our wedding day.
I can decide how many children I want to have as I have free access to birth control. Do yourself a favour and read Melinda Gates’ book “The moment of lift”. Read about the struggle of many women worldwide fighting poverty because they have too many children and no access to birth control.
Collectively we can swing an election. As a woman in South Africa, I can vote. The Mail & Guardian commented the following on 6 May 2019:
“It remains a mystery why political parties do not canvass the women’s vote when women can swing an election in South Africa. There are over two-million more women (14.7-million) voters registered for the election than men (12-million). If most women voted collectively for one party, they could determine the outcome of an election.” https://mg.co.za/article/2019-05-06-women-have-the-power-to-swing-the-2019-election
Women living in South Africa have freedom of sexual choice and can be in a heterosexual or same-sex relationship, get married and have children.
Although we cannot move freely, especially at night because of crime, we can move on our own, drive cars and be independent. Our Saudi Arabia sisters only got permission from their male authorities to drive as recent as 24 June 2018!
I do not deny that women still have a long way to go with gender inequality in the workplace. We are still not on enough boards, although I have more sisters now serving on boards than a couple of years ago.
Life is the most significant enterprise in the world. Wherever you live, remember no place is perfect and has its fair share of challenges and obstacles. Counting your blessings in the country you live will make it more tolerable and acceptable than walking around with gripes about how bad the place is you call home. If we want to see a change, step up, take leadership, be the change. Women standing together is a significant force.
In times of challenge and pain, support and pleasure, women know how to connect, communicate and keep each other feeling cared for by simply being together.
To be happy is to stop feeling like a victim and become your destiny’s author. I can choose to write a blog about the hardships of my life as a woman in my country, or I can write a blog about the other side. My choice lifted my soul. I hope it does the same for you.
The change I wish to make is to bring women together and empower, mentor, inspire through my workshop “Circle of Women”, taking place Friday 27 September 2019. The financial investment you will make in you is R187.50 per hour for 8 hours.