By Concilia Mahambo
Today I bought myself a chocolate cake to celebrate my life, my hopes, my dreams, opportunities I have allowed myself to miss and opportunities I look forward to in the future. Yes, today is about me and who I am. A WOMAN, a mother, grandmother, sister aunt, mentor, leader and friend.
On the 8th March it was International Women’s day. Popular names for women role models are constantly in the media, celebrating women achievements, with names like Mother Theresa, Maya Angelou, Michelle Obama, Queen Elizabeth 11, Nehanda Nyakasikana, Sally Mugabe, Tsitsi Dangarembga, not to mention female singers and plus size models.
Topics like Gender pay gap have created conversations on women employment and income. Leading to a question of Pension Gap. Yet how many women understand how their income and achievement could be highly be affected by their gender.
Gender equality has dominated most, if not all women conferences since the Beijing conference of September 1995. Finding ways to bridge the gap between men and women economically has existed for a long time and may continue to exist as it was estimated during the World Economic Forum of 2017, that it will take 217 years to breach the current gender pay gap.
That was before the coronavirus affected world economies. At this rate it is hard to tell how long it will take for gender pay gap to be erased.
But today, in this moment my greatest influence is Amelia Earhart. A woman who chose to be a pilot despite odds and decided to fly around the Atlantic Ocean on her own, setting off on an individual adventure. Although she never completed her adventure and her body was never found.
It is assumed she ran out of fuel and crashed, drowning in the Pacific Ocean. She was declared dead in 1939. She to me, embodies the bravery and courage that each woman should possess. The courage to follow your dreams and confidence to do it alone when and if necessary.
So today I celebrate me, remembering all the women who have died giving birth. In Zimbabwe, maternal mortality rate is 614 out of every 100 000 live births, it is considered one of the highest in the world, according to UNFPA Zimbabwe.
It is with this staggering number of maternal deaths in mind that I celebrate me this week. The ordinary woman who lives each day to do her best in life. The one whose name may never be written in history books. The one whose life may never be considered special and whose experiences may never be considered valid or of relevance.
It is this ordinary woman who aspires to be her better self who envisions a better tomorrow for both men and women alike, a better world for all. It is this woman who spends her time looking after her children, cleaning the house, cooking, working towards a qualification or promotion, that I celebrate today. It is you and me that make Mother’s Day and International Women’s Day worth celebrating.
There are many issues that women can raise and discuss, but today, I celebrate life, surviving a twin pregnancy and birth. I celebrate knowing that my place in this world is not limited to the kitchen or bedroom alone, but in the spaces, I choose to be.