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Monday, April 15, 2013

Empowering Women of the Future – Day 4, Ajegunle

Cleanliness vs Confidence was the topic of our meeting last Saturday.

We had each group discourse the topic privately and elect one person to speak in behalf of the group.

Each group was then asked to act out a real or imagined scenario of how cleanliness relates to confidence and how it all connects to women empowerment.

After the group discussions and presentations, we reached these conclusions:

A woman who maintains a good personal hygiene is more confident and may be more eager to speak out when being abused;

She is not likely to feel vulnerable or timid and may not think of it as a favor when people who ‘seem’ well off than are her friends;

She will be more eager to participate in public discussions, answer questions in public and converse freely with people;

She thinks highly of herself and may get along with others without much difficulty.

We then moved on to some of the reasons why women maintain poor personal hygiene.

Poverty, illiteracy and ignorance were on top of the list – most inhabitants of this community are very poor, barely able to feed and afford clothing. Women especially the young ones are the lowest in the order of preference when it comes to hygiene.

Some participants said they use newspapers and pieces of clothe as sanitary towels. Some of them thought nothing about it while others said they cannot afford tissue papers or sanitary pads. They also talked about wearing a piece of underwear for as long as 4 days because they had no money to afford new ones.

One participant told me after the group dispersed that whenever they could afford to buy some toothpaste or bathing soap; her parents often keep them out of reach, stating that they (the parents) are the ones that need them. She then said that sometimes when she tries to converse with her classmates in school, they make fun of her bad breath. This has made her withdrawn.

We all took time to talk about things that makes us feel confident as a woman.
Some of us said we feel confident as a woman when our hair is made, our clothes are well arranged and our shoes are in good condition.
Some others said they feel confident when their underwear is clean and in good condition.
Lastly, few said they feel really confident when they are sure of what they have to say.

We closed the meeting with Affirmation of Self.

We are already discussing with organizations and individuals who have indicated interest in meeting the needs of some of the young women in this community.

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