At the risk of sounding like a broken record, this saying should precisely mirror the one of “behind every successful man is a woman”. This should be the case without question right? Yes, it should.
It’s just commonsense. You know, “the two heads are better than one”, “when one falls, the other is there to pick them up”, “together we are stronger”, and all that. Should it matter if the “successful” one is the female? Isn’t it a case of, “If I’m successful, WE are successful”? “If I win, WE win”. When you put it like that, it looks so easy, straightforward and a phenomenon worthy of its own lightbulb moment.
Let’s look at a few examples:
Joke Silva & Olu Jacobs, Tamela Mann & David Mann, Indra Nooyi & Raj Nooyi, Jada Pinkett-Smith & Will Smith, Michelle & Barack Obama, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde & Captain Matthew Ekeinde. Let’s even chuck in Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip. I’m sure there are other examples but these are the few that popped into my head today.
Out of curiousity as you read this are you subconciously asking why I’ve listed the ladies names first? Did you even notice? If you did why, and does it matter if I did?
I’m trying to test out a theory here that there’s a lot of subconscious “norms” ingrained as part of society that we’re so used to and that we automatically fall in line with, adopting as the way we must think or behave. Just thinking out loud.
These are arguably successful women in their own right, and so are their husbands. In fact in some of these specific cases their success in the public sphere overshadows their husbands, and that’s okay. Their success doesn’t emasculate their men in any way shape or form, and neither should it. The respect from female to male is still there, the submission/acceptance to the male as head of the home is still there. Key point is, by all indication I am led to believe that the respect from the male to the female is also there, and it seems like for each, he has discovered the beautiful secret. The secret which is – when I love her enough to help her develop into a better version of herself, when I support her ambition, her goals and dreams like she supports mine (without adding unfair guilt or blame), she blossoms even more. She believes in herself more, she is more inspired, free and empowered to really go for it. Her willingness to sacrifice for me and the family knows no limit. She honours and appreciates me even more, and the whole family is even more enriched mentally, physically and spiritually. In this scenario he is ultimately the biggest winner. Happy wife, very happy life is not a myth, it is an attainable fact.
When you see a couple that are comfortable with each other, just absolutely thrilled with and supportive of each other, (warts and all), doesn’t it just make you want to sing and shout out for joy? It’s a beautiful thing to see. I love Tamela and David Mann’s approach – they just focus on trying to outdo each other in loving each other. How can you fail with that?
With something so straightforward why do so many get this wrong? Why are so many women still in this day and age feeling oppressed, unappreciated, like no one’s got their back even when they’re holding everyone else’s? Like they’ve got to be Superwoman, Wonderwoman and every kick ass female superhero in the Marvel franchise, all day everyday just to get a little acknowledgement or support.
I read an interesting article on fortune.com which suggested that black women are suffering from the “double outsiders” condition. The backdrop for the article and video is the US, but living in the UK I can certainly identify with the sentiment that I’m a double outsider. Black Female CEOs – Why are African American Women not making it to the top of Corporate America
The condition of being both black and female puts my starting point for success at least 50m behind most other groups in a 100m race. If you’re a black married mum anywhere in the world, sometimes you’re even a quadruple outsider – you’re female, you’re black, you’re a wife and you’re a mother. Lord help us, how do you successfully climb over all those hurdles?
Many women aren’t asking for Superman. A kind, considerate and hardworking one will do. Aretha Franklin wasn’t lying, “just a little respect”. Not a ton, not even a bucket full, just a little. Gentle men, help the lady in your life, and remove some of the hurdles unfairly placed in her way through love, respect, appreciation, and support. A little goes a long way. If you are doing it, well done, keep doing it, consistently, not one off. If you’re not, today is as good a day as any to start.
Speaking of inspiring and successful women, I saw this list in another article in Leading Ladies Africa Nigeria’s 100 most inspiring women 2017
May we all get due recognition as we deserve. I love anything that celebrates African women, so was glad to read about the ladies featured. Hopefully, as they continue to leap over hurdles in their way, shatter glass ceilings and conquer new territories, they all have a supportive man behind them, who’s solidly got their back.