The tittle of this article is a sensitive one, and one I care a lot about. I’ve had it in mind for quite some time, and I’ve decided to write about it.
And joining me to pursue this line of thought is Happiness Uduak, content writer, ghostwriter, editor, and proof reader.
Happiness Uduak, apart from being a seasoned writing expert, is also a really nice friend of mine. I got to know her from the CWIN Writing Creativity Challenge I took part in last year.
And so, without much more intros, here’s Happiness’ article. This is a collab, so we swapped articles. You can read my article on her page, here.
Self-confidence is a key ingredient in the recipe for success, and it is especially important in the journey of intentionality. It allows individuals to set and pursue their goals with conviction and determination while believing in themselves and their abilities.
However, society has unconsciously conditioned this quality to the male gender over the years, leaving the female gender to fill in the gaps. Even in the 21st Century, some people still walk around with the ideology that men are more competent than their female counterparts.
Have you ever had a man interrupt you during a meeting or talk over you in a group setting? This type of behavior sends the message that a woman’s voice and ideas aren’t as valuable as a man’s. And when this happens repeatedly, it can make a woman question her intelligence and abilities.
It’s no secret. Women have been fighting for equality for decades. But what many people don’t realize is that gender bias doesn’t just affect women in the workplace, it can also take a toll on their self-confidence.
Nigerian society expects a woman to have a perfect body, perfect hair, perfect character, and perfect composure. The average woman is expected to go to school, get good grades, bag a rich husband, and pop out kids. And when a woman doesn’t live up to these impossible standards and tries to disrupt the system of ‘the ideal African woman’ they’re often criticized and shamed for wanting more.
This gender stereotype constantly bombards the minds of young girls with messages that suggest they aren’t good enough to explore male-dominated professional environments. Brilliant young ladies aspiring for more, are met with opposition and are accused of breaking the ancient system of ‘what a woman is supposed to do’. But, is this belief morally right?
The scary part is that if the unspoken belief that females should be comfortable in 2nd place continues to thrive, brilliant girls might listen to society and end up forfeiting their dreams and living with a deteriorating level of self-confidence.
The good news, however, is that we can all play a role in changing this narrative. We can ensure that this vicious cycle is trashed for good.
To do this, women should be prepared to counteract the negative effects of societal stereotypes and bias. They should invest in building supportive networks of friends, family, and colleagues to enjoy a sense of belonging and validation, which can counteract the negative effects of societal prejudice.
They should also be aware of various forms of bias that exist and be prepared to challenge them when they encounter them. Women should also build an unshakable sense of self-confidence to resist the negative effects of stereotypes.
Furthermore, they should have role models and mentors who have successfully navigated and overcome societal stereotypes. This can provide inspiration and guidance to them as grown women.
As individuals, we can also contribute to saving the self-confidence of young women by speaking up when we witness gender bias, and by supporting and lifting the women around us.
So, next time you’re in a meeting and a woman’s ideas are being dismissed, speak up and give her the credit she deserves. Be sure to remind every woman out there of all the amazing things she’s capable of. Because when we support and uplift each other, we can break down the barriers of gender bias and help women to reach their full potential.
And so, there you have it.
Go on over to Happiness’ page to read my article on the topic.
And if you’d like to share ideas on this topic, or reach out if you’d like to do a collab with me, the comments section is open. I’d love to hear from you.
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Thanks for reading. 🌺