Is it me or is there is a huge rise of the cosmopolitan woman in Africa? I call her, the new African woman. The new African woman meets friends for cocktails like ‘sex on the beach’, after she gets off her 9-5 corporate job. She’s the woman who talks freely about sex, and enjoys it too.
This woman takes vacation days and balances career and work life. This is a stark difference from our mother’s generation. For one thing, if I told my mom I was having sex on the beach…the furthest thing on her mind will be a drink in a glass.
Sooo who is this new African woman? Here are 11 ways the new African woman is breaking the mold.
1. We take care of ourselves first…without any apologies
We have realized that the woman who does everything for others must first take care of herself.
This could mean anything from quitting a job that we hate to starting our own business. It could also mean ignoring all the haters and going back to school for a second degree.
2. We choose family…and career
Remember when there was a time where women had to choose between advancing in her career versus raising children and being a great wife?
Well, who said a woman can’t do both. African women are finding ingenious ways of balancing the two. We can cook a mean jollof for dinner and defend a case in court the next morning.
The new African woman does all.
3. We are girls who code and do everything else
Did you know that there was a study that showed that black women are now the most educated group in the United States?
Similarly, African women are excelling in subjects that where once thought to be dominated by men. We are killing it in math, science and technology. And we look good while doing it.
4. We are literally turning lemons into lemonade
The African woman is the most industrious of all the species. Our work ethic and our ability to wring every drop out of a great opportunity is unmatched.
Both these qualities are seen in my current favorite #MotherlandMogul, Olajumoke Orisaguna. Who else is able to wake up one day selling bread and go to bed at the end of the day with a modeling contract?
5. The love we seek is multi-dimensional
You know how our mothers will tell us that there is only one way to a man’s heart and that is his stomach?
Well, there are a thousand different ways to the new African women’s heart. She wants wit, adventure and staying up late with her love watching cartoons till 3am while eating ice cream.
6. We don’t pretend to be perfect
Have you ever cried at work? Or cried because you had a huge project coming up and you were so stressed out? I have (and I would love to hear your stories in the comments).
Women have had to hide their emotions in the work place because of the fear of being judged as weak compared to the man. But we know we are not perfect, and neither are men.
So dry your tears, listen to some Lil’ Kim and go be the most perfect imperfection ever.
7. We are breaking the glass ceiling in our careers
Women are the biggest consumers of African movies. We single-handedly pump money into this industry. For a long time, men dominated in the directing and producing of African movies…but not any more.
With the rise of Yvonne Nelson, Shirley Frimpong Manso and other female producers, times are a’ changing.
8. And our careers span past doctors and engineers….we are creatives
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is my personal hero. And to see her making the world stop and listen to what she has to say as a writer and a speaker is so inspiring.
It puts our parents’, “only be a doctor, engineer or lawyer” talk to shame. While those careers are great, creative careers in the arts are also important. We need more African photographers, writers, artists, graphic designers, the list goes on.
9. We wear made in Africa
Any fans of ‘African City’? How many times have you watched an episode and wanted to buy everything the girls wore. From the jewelry to the shoes and the clothes themselves.
I had to stop watching because my retail lust was getting out of control…and get this? Everything is made in Africa! We are showing the world what African career wear, girls night out outfits and bathing suits can look like.
10. We are leading the front lines on African issues
Everyone in Africa knows the inconsistent power struggles that we all suffer through. In Ghana, we call it dumsor meaning “light off, light on”.
Well, guess who led the movement to tell the Ghanaian government enough is enough? Actress and producer, Yvonne Nelson. She led the cause and soon, others joined in droves.
African women are no longer waiting to be told to speak, we are leading the force on issues that affect all of us.
11. We are intentional about changing Africa
This point is captured perfectly by this quote by Elizabeth Blackwell; “For what is done or learned by one class of women becomes, by virtue of their common womanhood, the property of all women.”
African women everywhere are doing their part for the next generation of women. From organizations like our very own SLA to movie producers writing more complex roles for women, or business owners who create scholarships for girls.
We are all more aware of the role we play in changing Africa and the stories that are told about African women.