By Musinga Charlotte, WiSci STEAM Camp participant
Globally, women have been considered inferior to men, throughout time. This has affected women in various ways which are dominantly negative in the long run, subjecting them to mediocrity, gender based violence, as they prefer to stay in their comfort zones for fear of direct oppression.
Reports have been made on the numerous powers that have come up including governments and organizations all to support and uphold the status of women in regards to the challenges they face as women. These reports are not necessarily meant to put men down as some people think, but to help women out of their shells as they are lagging behind, yet with so much potential that goes unnoticed -- potential which could be a great asset to our communities and countries! If a teacher realizes he/she has a student that is lagging behind and not performing as expected, that teacher has a right to focus on that student and push him/her so that he/she is at the same level with the other students in class. Girl up doesn't necessarily mean boy down.
Despite all of that, the challenges and stereotypes that brave women have managed to fight out of their comfort zones and made it to the so called male dominated fields such as Uganda's speaker of parliament Hon. Rebecca Kadagga, former vice president Specioza Kazibwe, director of Kampala City Council Authority(KCCA) Hon. Jeniffer Musisi. This should be a clear indication and inspiration for women to get out of their hiding places and attain the power, success and privileges they deserve.
I attended the WiSci summer camp in Rwanda for three weeks of learning, networking and inspiration. There, I had the opportunity to meet various phenomenal women from all over the world who have made it and are considered the "top dogs" in their fields and departments. They have made it single-handedly and have attained their respect as women -- for example, Dr. Frances Colon holds a PhD in neuroscience and serves as the science and technology advisor to the secretary of state at U.S state department of state where she promotes the integration of science and technology into foreign policy dialogues. By doing this, she has broken down barriers and made her way into male dominated fields and boardrooms, and gained her respect not because she waited and smiled at everyone, but because of her confidence and competence.
A lot has been said and done -- its now left to us -- as it is said, change begins with you. The bakiga have a saying that goes "you can take a cow to the river but cannot force the water down its gullet" so its all up to you to stand up, know your worth, go for it without fear because all powers are up to support you on your way to the top -- take the chance before it leaves you.
"When you are too woman, too smart, too beautiful, too strong, too much of what you are that makes a man feel less a man -- you start to feel like you have to be less of a woman. The biggest mistake you will ever make is to remove jewels from your crown to make it easier for a man to carry. When this happens, I need you to understand you don't need a smaller crown but a man with bigger hands."
Don't you ever forget that you matter -- a confident woman is considered dangerous to some people. When the world tells you that you can't, that you are not good enough, that you won't, don't bother telling them you can, just do it.
Show your confidence, competence and how capable you are to change the world. Your voice matters, your passion matters, your vision of the world matters and your existence matters the most. There is no one on this planet who can do what you are here to do. You don't just have potential but a role to play in changing what you think is not right. Don't let yourself be left out of the equation. Take the front seat. Be proud of your potential, don't fear it! Women are not only homemakers but also nation builders!
Musinga Charlotte studies at Mt. St. Mary's Namagunga Uganda. She is the President of GirlUp Namagunga and Legal Advisor of the Patriotism Club.