June 9, 2020

What is a Woman? {Poem}


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In 2018, I was lucky enough to work with a wonderful and inspiring group of young women in Busembatia, Uganda, as part of a “Women’s Empowerment Through Journalism” program.

One afternoon in February, I delivered a session after school on how to write and share their stories, their feelings—to empower them to share their opinions, and their experiences of women in leadership positions in economic, social, and political spheres.

I wrote the following poem to express my feelings and what I would write if I didn’t care what people thought of me, or how it would be perceived—if I was simply using my voice, and writing for me. Interestingly, in facilitating a session with the objective of empowering them to find their voice.

I found mine.

Being a woman, what is a woman?

A social construction of gender,

Do we surrender?

To being boxed by a name?

A stereotype, in vain.


Being a woman, what is a woman?

Hardship of achieving in leadership,

Balancing personal and professional life.

Scorned for being too sensitive, too kind

Battling daily strife.


Being a woman, what is a woman?

Mocked for being too bossy or too sentimental,

Yet male counterparts would be described as assertive or strong.

Judged through your lens,

Your starting position that a woman, because she’s a woman, is wrong.


Being a woman, what is a woman?

I am a woman.

I am strong and sensitive,

A leader and a friend.

I will defend, even though I shouldn’t have to

One day I won’t have to.

Being a woman, I am a woman.

I can.

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