Midlands State University
We have some women around the world who live in silence and never dare to question injustices or stand for what they believe is right.
My friend, Gamu Magwenzi, and I recently had a Zoom conference with 10 ladies during which we discussed issues around breaking the silence in our society.
Let me state some of the reasons why women don’t break the silence. They include but are not limited to the following: society shapes us to be timid individuals. We are told women should be “nice” and accept the status quo; we are told our place is in the kitchen and nowhere else hence we shouldn’t contribute in making major life-changing decisions; and some of us are probably afraid of being labelled aggressive.
What puzzles me in all this is the fact that if a man questions and investigates further, society will say, “Oh, he is bold”. However, if a woman does the same, society will say: “She is angry or she is too aggressive for a woman.”
Here is my opinion: Dare to question still and dare to investigate further because God created you to put your brain to good fruitful thinking. They will label you angry, aggressive and so forth, but sooner or later they will get the hang of it.
The following are insights that were shared from our Zoom conference on how we can break the silence.
First and foremost, develop a deep connection with God because that’s where your security, hope and faith comes from. Surviving in this world is not about you but it’s about God and what He is always able to do through you. So if you want to go far, connect to a source greater than yourself so that you get the appropriate guidance. As women, we have to work twice as hard to get a promotion or be hired for a job and it’s only the supernatural power of God that can allow us to find favour in the eyes of men.
Secondly, make sure someone on the decision-making table knows what you stand for. Be firm and clear about what you stand for. Don’t allow people to make decisions that affect your life whilst you are seating quietly and watching because you want to be labelled the “good girl or peaceful”. If you are head of department for example, let your subordinates know what you stand for and what you don’t tolerate.
Don’t entertain jokes that promote laziness or sloppiness. If you stand for diligence then preach and act diligent. If you don’t make your position clear from the beginning, you will be tossed around. Remember to make sure that your arguments come from an informed point of view and not your emotions. Emotions can cloud sound judgment. Be rationale.
Thirdly, read widely, educate yourself and understand current trends either politically, socially or economically. This will help you engage in conversations from an educated and informed point of view.
Ever noticed how sometimes as women we go quiet when men are discussing current affairs? I have been there personally. So maybe instead of scrolling social feeds, why not widen your knowledge. Be a master in your area of specialty. Robin Sharma says: “People who play at a brilliant level are a scarcity.” Let’s engage in this realm, ladies. Remember you are a brand and whatever you do represents your brand so represent yourself well.
Point four, show confidence in how your carry yourself.
Remember your confidence stems from God who is holding you up.
The grave mistake that many people make is believing that their gifts, looks, perfections and class determine their confidence. No, our confidence is in God.
Talking is an art, you don’t just talk for the sake of it. Let every argument or statement that you utter show the depth of knowledge that you have.
Let it be backed by current facts or research. Remember to maintain eye contact when communicating with people.
Also empower other women to be confident and to stand out. It’s no longer men standing in the way of women emancipation but its other women. To make great strides, we need to support each other.
One of the ladies from our meeting explained how she has been facing marginalisation from her manager, who is a woman.
Added to this she works in a male dominated environment but she has managed to defy the odds by standing firm, being confident and strategically positioning herself for success. You have to be bold and firm in order for you to break the silence.
Finally, dress up for each occasion. How you look usually determines how you feel so go ahead and dress well.
However don’t just be a pretty face but be a woman with a sense of direction. Show them that you can still look good and stand out in your area of specialty.