No place in man’s reserve  

Injustice happens when a man speaks of women’s empowerment. Even worst a case, when a priest writes about women’s role in the Church. It is high time we listened to them.

Some say it is a good moment for women. Kamala Harris, Amanda Gorman, Sr. Natalie Becquart, and Ngozi Okonjo-Iwela are well-known examples to prove this statement. Moreover, a new disposition of the Pope has finally given women access to the table of the Word of God and the Eucharist.

These names and decisions give hope not only in a different future, but also, more importantly and urgently, in a different present, in both

society and the Church. And we keep hoping, because we know that something is not right, that, though women and men were created diverse, equal [same human dignity] but not complementary [roles do not depend on gender], the gender imbalance is still too wide.

As usual, injustice happens when a man speaks of women’s empowerment. Even worst a case, when a priest writes about women’s role in the Church. Can women finally speak? And, if they can speak, can they decide? Can women have the same opportunities as men, wherever they are and in whichever situation?

Not to perpetuate the injustice, allow me to fade away and let the voice of Nyambura speak. She is a young, extraordinary, resilient woman, used to fight and hope. One among many, surely, but she is much more representative of women than I could ever be. And I will never be, obviously.

It is pleasing to acknowledge that we are living in a world where most people are realising the importance of empowering women. However, this phenomenon of women’s empowerment needs to be taken a notch higher; we need more women presidents, more female business leaders, and my list goes on. Women’s empowerment needs to happen not only on paper but also in actions. Equal opportunities for women are recognised in constitutions and laws, but the reality is sadly very different. It may be a cliché, but it is true that, when you empower a woman, you empower a nation.

For the first time in the United States history, a female vice-president was elected, Mrs. Kamala Harris, who is also the first Black/Asian-American woman in that position. It is another proof that women can conquer any obstacle and become a society’s greatest creatures. Kamala Harris is an almost perfect example of an empowered woman. Younger women and girls need these kind of role models to emulate.

Pope Francis, this year, changed the Canon Law, which restricted women from administering the Eucharist and serving as readers in Church – roles traditionally reserved for men. This action is symbolic of how men must withdraw to create space for women’s growth. At the same time, it requires that girls and women understand that nothing and no place is a man’s reserve. Any effort towards making women great in the society is a right step towards building a great world. Women’s empowerment is not about women becoming like men; rather, it is about women getting equal opportunities as men. Women can be and do what men can be and do. Essentially, women can be anyone they wish to be.

In 2006, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a banker and survivor of Liberia’s brutal politics, became Liberia’s president and Africa’s first elected female head of state. Several other African countries, like Gabon, Malawi, Mauritius, and Ethiopia, have later followed the example.

Gone are the days when a woman’s place was in the kitchen, or when a woman’s roles were to bring forth offspring and take care of her husband. Today, women too are becoming engineers, pilots, doctors, and excellent leaders, bringing forth greatness to their societies, thus making the world a better place for all genders. This world needs learned, happy, peaceful and successful women. Everyone should always strive to encourage a woman to be better, because, when women are empowered, everybody – men included – is safer. On the contrary, when women are battered, sexually and emotionally abused, married off too early, marginalised in education and society, everyone loses and is in danger. We all have to come together and say: “Viva Girl-power!”, because greatness equals women.

Let it be.

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