I havent written for a long time, and hence to start off wanted to share a perspective that changed my life – In the hope that someone needs this as much as I did. Over the years I have changed how I define Leadership, strength and courage. Specifically as a women who is constantly fighting to be seen ,to be heard and to make a difference, this shift brought a lot with it.
Over the years, I have been and am still curious about not only what drives people day to day but specifically what fuels people to do what they do during the challenges they face? Firstly what challenges do people face? What is it that makes people strong during these moments? What determines success and power for these strong people?
To drive change against all adversities , that is what seems to keep strong people afloat. They keep going , they keep their heads up and get things done. Despite this, I strongly believe that the strength of strong people stems from first and foremost humility, followed by courage and a strong awareness of things that are wrong in order to change them. Today I put my hood off to women of colour, to marginalized groups and to everybody who after facing strong winds found ways to drive common goals and harnessed the storm against them to propel movements of good change across the globe. The power behind finding common goals when facing challenging moments, is what redefines what leadership, strength and courage should be about. Finding common goals when all one can see is the differences requires some grounding to do so.
As a Black African women, I know what it feels like to feel unseen, to feel unheard and to feel like the world is against you. It is what stirs the need to make a change for marginalised groups. Hence I can also understand why we sometimes tend to utilise on differences and the anger they stir to drive change without realising how much division it creates . My experience might be a single statistic, however having seen the trends towards #metoo #blacklivesmatter and so on, it is fair to say it is not a me or an “us vs them” problem – these hashtags or movements touch indirectly on global issue that deserve to be addressed now and differently. Due to the division these have created in the last years, it is time we address such issues as global issues and not “group related” topics or silo movements.
The reason is simple : the problem is not that black lives dont matter or that white lives should take a back seat , the reason why such movements touch indirectly on global issues is that at the core of the stirred anger and bitterness or helplessness, are a mass of people yearning for the same things , i.e fair treatment,human dignity and respect that pushes economic and human development for all… Everyone I belive yearns for this. Hence it should be ALL our duty to find common ground as citizens of today, mothers and fathers of today, daughters and sons of today to push the agenda of a better world,… it is our duty to ensure that we are creating a world that is conducive for growth, stability and sustainability for the next generations to come regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or economic background.
My call to all, particularly women and people of colour, is not for us to look for differences to drive movements of change. Once, I was caught aback when a colleague emphasized that the reason why certain activities should be promoted , is not because it is a women standing behind them or worse a black women driving something – the reason we should stand behind something is because we are fully convinced that it is the right thing to do and that it is also the right person doing so for the right intentions.
In a world where there is so much division, I strongly believe that to win – we need to find common ground to drive good systems , policies and ideas that influence the future of work, education, food security and health across the world.The leadership of today and tomorrow requires that we take a step back with humility and be fully aware of what and why we are fighting.
Women let us unite to become the winning women of today and tomorrow by finding the synergies we have across the globe , across the diverse ecosystem and going in to fight a united cause. The issues we face should be not be isolated as women issues for women to discuss in silos.
happy international womens day!