Girls are now aware that they can do more than is culturally expected of them, and nothing is stopping them. The question is no longer if the girl is well empowered but whether the boy has been prepared to invite them into these spaces and accommodate them. Creating a society of equity is not for purposes of competing, but for building a better community. Therefore, a nation of equity cannot be actualized if both men and women do not work together. What role then can men play to support the blossoming of the girl child in various aspects?
Cyprian is a simple man. His slim frame and receding hairline (which he takes pride in) add to the simplicity of his persona. If you frequent Langata and Mbagathi road, you have probably seen him armed with his helmet, green reflector jacket, and his wrist and ankle reflectors cycling at a steady pace on his way home or to school. However, he is not just a regular man. He is a father of one daughter and many daughters who look up to him as a father.
His heart beats not only for cycling but also for the girl child. His heart bleeds for the many girls who are vulnerable and do not know any better, for women who are objectified and not considered for their worth in society. Every time he speaks, his tears almost fall, a reflection of the pain his heart conceals. The cry is not just heard in his sentiments, but also confirmed by the many girls he fathers.
According to Cyprian, a woman is a nurturer, a leader and a homemaker, roles that are very important but not recognized in society because leadership is male and wears trousers. Women are pushed to be masculine and fail to appreciate the purpose they were created to fill. They have to fight to be heard and be aggressive to fit in, which should not be the case.
We ought to appreciate a girl with all her vulnerability, fragile nature and emotional tendencies. These qualities do not negate the fact that a woman can lead effectively. Therefore, there is a need to revert to the natural order, redefine leadership. Teach our girls to be okay in their skin, and train them to lead as nurturers. They do not have to feel the pressure to conform.
“A lady in leadership is a nurturer while the man is a vision bearer, says Rachel, Assistant Chaplain Daystar University. The inclusion of both parties is very crucial for this to work. Hence, an appreciation of both genders and their unique roles in society. We are no longer competing, but bringing out the best in each of us according to our design to achieve a more significant impact.
On the International Day of the girl child, Cyprian joined us during an open forum for men, where these concerns came out very clearly. He urged fathers to protect their girls in every way. “Be the first man in her life; be friends with her. Appreciate her and help her grow in her purpose.”A girl ought to be protected. This protection comes from the men, brothers, and sons in society who are fully equipped in their original design to provide security. The girls and women that are doing well are protected, and their vulnerability is not exposed to opportunists. Men are urged to take up this role and be stewards of the protection of the girl child. They can equally spearhead conversations regarding appreciation and protection of girls in our society.
Long gone are the days when girls were only taught to please their husbands, stick to the kitchen and be homemakers. Let us show our girls how to be leaders and problem solvers. Purpose to have real time conversations in the home and mold them while young, teach them the truth of who they are beyond the kitchen. Make history, change the narrative in society right beside your daughter. Be the change you want to see. If you have not one of your own, be a father to the many who are fatherless.