New year- new goals
We asked our sister-hood writers to tell us their New Year’s resolutions for 2018.
Here are some of their responses:
The New Year brings with it unexpected experiences, new lessons and important moments of reflection. 2017 provided fresh perspectives upon events in my past; events that I once thought I might not be able to survive. I can safely say that as I mature, both in how I make sense of the world and how I interact with it, I’m beginning to understand where I fit in society – both as a female and a person of Middle-Eastern descent. With this in mind, I wanted to share a promise that I’ve made to myself, in the hopes that it might inspire others to follow suit.
My resolution for 2018 is to be fearless.
Fearless in my interactions. I’m sure we’ve all had our moments when we over-analyse a situation and question whether we said the right thing. I’ve had times when I’ve felt the need to justify my reasoning, my words or why I thought a particular way – even when I wasn’t asked to do so. It was a way of protecting myself against potential disagreements or criticism. I realise now that I can’t go through life pleasing everyone. As I move into 2018, I plan to stop over-thinking and simply do!
Fearless when speaking up. Some months ago, I was unfortunate enough to come up against challenges which I believe, were more difficult because I am a woman. I, and a male counterpart, both flagged the exact same issues. The man’s views were respected and acted upon. Mine, on the other hand ….well let’s just say that I wasn’t afforded the same courtesy. Experiences like these will not keep me quiet. They will not deter me from speaking up against injustices.
And finally, be fearless enough to recognise my own worth. I’m quick to talk down personal achievements and dismiss praise. I’ve spoken to impressive women in the past, and they’ve explained that they too often find difficulty in recognising their own accomplishments. This can close the door to opportunities. I’ve talked myself down in job interviews and even silenced myself into an awkward stupor when receiving recognition. But in order to grow as both an individual and a professional I need to recognise my own talent, work and achievements.
My New Year’s resolution for 2018 is to do everything in my capacity to amplify the voices of Muslim women, so that we can battle the pervasive misogyny and patriarchy in our communities, and break down the stereotypes in wider society which act as barriers to our freedom and success.
I hope this will enable Muslim women to grow in confidence and strength to combat the injustices and inequalities within our communities and develop their ability challenge prejudices and discrimination (both structural and social) in the wider society. I hope to use my own voice, whether through social-media activism or writing, to highlight the issues Muslim women face – which includes the stereotype of being passive victims of oppression – and the ways in which many of us challenge such issues, and empower each other. I hope that my work will help shed some light on Muslim women’s experiences and their needs, and create further opportunities for me to empower women. What I’d really like to see is for Muslim women to be given a voice to speak for themselves, about themselves, rather than being spoken about – because that’s the first step in mobilizing change in society as a whole.
It is not in my habit to make New Year’s resolutions, but in this case, I shall oblige sister-hood and mention one ‘resolution’ or rather one ‘wish.’ I wish that everyone, men, women, of Muslim heritage or of any other heritage and culture, would let go of labels. I wish that they would dare to be themselves without having to fit into a box with a sticker.
‘I wish I could show you the astonishing light of your being.’
The fact that these words were written by a Persian poet more than 700 years ago – Hafez – changes nothing about the fact that they are soul stirring. And that is the way I wish we all lived our lives and see the world around us.
And to paraphrase Borges, it is not because a poet is Arab that he should write about camels.
So let us, if I may suggest, be ourselves in 2018 and beyond. Let us be thankful for whom we are, neither stirring differences nor imposing them. We are us. Always.
At the end of each year, we look back at how our year went and reflect upon it. We may want to fix or change certain things about others or ourselves. We set goals we would like to achieve, such as running a marathon, losing weight, getting a new job or scholarship etc.
My New Year’s resolution for this year is different. It is not only for me, but for every woman and girl in Libya. It is not about being perfect but being content with our flaws. It is about getting better and growing wiser.
Women are still paid less than men and face difficulties in employment because many jobs considered more suitable for men. This upcoming year, refuse to sell yourself short. Make sure that you get what you deserve. Stand up for a cause or join in an organisation that you have always wanted to join. Make an impact amongst your peers and create a positive impact with small acts of kindness – and empowerment.
Learn some new skills or a new language. It is never too late. Work on your own progression, day by day. Enjoy the ups but, most importantly, embrace the downs, and learn from them. Break gender stereotypes and demand your equal rights as a human being. Do not let social norms restrict you because you are woman. You can work in any field you want or study anything you want. There are no limits.
I hope that every woman and girl follows these resolutions, and makes every year their year. Women can unite to empower each other and reach for the skies together.