In a world where women of all creed, color and religion are subject to the patriarchal standards of society, I don’t think there’s ever a time when they shouldn’t be celebrated. No one person deserves to be treated any less than the other, so it’s a shame that almost half the world’s population is discriminated against because of a damn chromosome. It just doesn’t make sense that a surplus of estrogen is the reason why, in some cases, a woman is seen as less than a man. There are plenty of statistics that show that this narrative is false. For many years, women have been held back because of their male counterparts. In many places, women have been barred from basic societal rights like getting an education and adequate healthcare. It’s time to change that.

Misogyny on the African continent is as ingrained into a majority of the cultures as our fashion sense, or our ability to make some of the world’s best food. (It is worth noting that women, as a whole, are better cooks than men by the way.) It’s damn near in the soil. It’s a part of the “culture.” Women are constantly reminded to stay in the kitchen, raise the children and limit themselves to skills and trades that are largely considered domestic. Women have consistently been held back from receiving a decent education and in some places, not allowed to get an education at all, and the repercussions are evident. According to a 2014 Millennium Development Goals Report, a UN annual report that tracks progress towards achieving said goals, about 33 million children in sub-Saharan Africa were out of school in 2012. A staggering 56% of those were girls. Uneducated parents tend to have children earlier, and more often. This leads to larger families, but these women don’t get a chance to develop the skills necessary to get well paying jobs to take care of their families. According to the World Health Organization, 55% of women that died while giving birth occurred in a sub-Saharran African country in 2010. For every 100,000 live births that occurred in Sierra Leone in 2015, 1,360 of those resulted in maternal mortality. These numbers are astounding and point to the constant dismissal of the lives of women in our culture.

So at what point is enough, enough? Is it when we pack our bags and leave the continent in hopes of greener pastures abroad like many of our parents did? Is it when we finally realize that the most important gender on the planet where all human life comes from is finally broken down to a point of nothingness? Nope. Nah. Fuck that. I think it’s time we realize that there needs to be a culture shift in the way that women everywhere; not just the diaspora or on our continent, are revered, respected and regarded. They aren’t born to just be baby making machines for when you want a son to continue your “legacy”. They aren’t born to cook meals for your hungry ass that doesn’t even know how to light a gas stove without burning off your eyebrows. They aren’t maids to clean up after you either. Get your lazy ass up and wash your own plate bruh.

To be quite honest, women aren’t even equal to men, they’re above us. Life is so much better when you realize that too. They’re smarter than us. Think women’s intuition. There’s a reason why your mother knew you stole meat from the pot, even though you closed it silently. They’re stronger than us (majority of men would kill themselves within the first 30 minutes of labor). They’re caring, nurturing, and more loving than us and we really don’t deserve them. There’s no reason women should have to put up with the shit men give them on a daily basis but here we are, and they still haven’t given up on us yet. 

As a generation of members of the diaspora in the age of social justice, I challenge us as men to look at how our forefathers treated our female counterparts and turn that around. Let’s lift them up and provide the same support that they’ve been giving us for years. They are worthy of our support as they pursue their careers and dreams of having a beautiful family. Women deserve to be recognized for the ability to slay at the office, and at Sunday brunch, effortlessly. Listen to what the women in your life have to say, not just because she’s your mother, but because she’s human and what she feels and thinks is valid. Treat them the way we we’d want to be treated. Respect women. Love them. And I promise you, together we’ll all come out on top.

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