The modern woman is an interesting subset of the modern human being. But before we can grasp the
person of the modern woman, we need must first understand the modern human being. The modern
human being is a complex and yet simple individual. He/she is the amalgamation of several centuries of
introspection and the search for purpose. He is drawn to knowledge and consumed with a need to find
meaning for his existence. This meaning is not just metaphysical; the meaning the modern human seeks
is also attached to his physical and mental well-being.
Never before in the history of humankind have we had access to so much knowledge and so little
understanding of the knowledge garnered. Thus, the modern human has increased his capacity to
achieve but is often at cross roads as to what he wishes to achieve. Technology has improved our life
but life choices seem to have devolved. We have become less connected socially except through flimsy
technology driven ether based connections. We have friends we do not know, avatars that do not
represent us and opinions that are fed to us. Life has become simpler and yet more complex. We all
suffer under this burden. However, we all also seek opportunities for self-determination and taking
control of our lives. We refuse to be restrained by the compulsions of traditions which we cannot
defend or relate with.
Using this lens, let us look at the modern woman. Let us examine the kaleidoscope and review the
spectrum range of ambitions, feelings, hopes, insecurities and desires. Who is the modern woman? First
off, she is a mother, sister, lover, daughter and friend. She seamlessly alternates the roles as life and
events dictates whilst also finding her own identity. She has been the victim of oppression and
repression over time suffering different indignities and calamities. But now, she has decided to take the
reins of her destiny to emerge as the victor.
The modern woman, we could say, simply means being whoever she wants to be; it means being free to
experience and make mistakes. It means being in charge of your life and allowing others to do same. It
means finding your own happiness beyond the shackles of society and tradition. The modern woman
wants to be appreciated for her beauty as much as her intelligence and wit. She wants to be a wife
without being a slave, a mother without being a servant, a respected colleague rather than an
administrative appendage, human rather than being considered an object.
Womanhood has been constantly challenged by waves of misogyny, in career, sexually, socially,
politically and even spiritually. However, women have fought long and hard to have their voices heard
and their presence acknowledged. The modern woman is the culmination of all the hopes and
aspirations of many women of eons past. They have led movements and fought for equality. They have
built movements and ideologies to empower one another. They have fought for gender equality,
challenging gender narratives in the hopes of providing a brighter future for one another.
However, despite all she has fought for, despite how well she has striven to change the narrative, she
still has a ways to go to correct the damages of entrenched patriarchy. Only an empowered woman can
achieve this feat. But we would first need to understand what being empowered means- it simply means
to exercise influence over your life, being in control of your abilities and capabilities.
So, who is an ‘Empowered Modern Woman’?
She is a human who knows her strengths and is aware of her weaknesses. She has built expertise in her
chosen career path and forged fortitude despite her pains. She would like to be recognized for who she
is, what she has done, what she can do and how she can productively contribute to the larger society.
She is not afraid to embrace her insecurities as she knows we are all just working through the system
and no one really has the answers and as such we are all working through the challenges of existence.
She has accepted that not having answers is normal but also that one mustn’t get comfortable in the
caves of ignorance.
It is quite saddening that in our society, Nigeria particularly and most of the world, women are
constantly graded by standards that unreasonably denigrate or superfluously objectify, and this is totally
unacceptable. Though a patriarchal society drives the narrative, the influence and impact of women has
never been more important. During the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, most of the best performing
leadership was offered by female statesmen. Women are constantly distinguishing themselves in every
area of society and breaking new boundaries. A good recent example is Ms. Kamala Harris, who became
the first female Vice President of the United States of America.
For her to flourish, the right environment has to be created. There is a popular saying, ‘Empower a man,
empower a family. Empower a woman, empower a community’. Her rights should be respected and
protected by all of society. She should be given access to good education and training, career options
without barriers, independence of thought without fear of sanctions, freedom to determine her
sexuality and explore her sensuality.
The Modern Woman is like the earth; she takes and she gives, she is assured of herself and willing to
take risks to achieve her goals, she is not afraid to feel and is comfortable in her sexuality. She refuses to
be labeled as a lower human but also recognizes her own limitations. She does not want to usurp the
role of the male but would rather not be a footnote for child breeding and home keeping. She knows her
potential and is happy to be acknowledged, recognized and respected for pursuing and achieving them.
Her motto: Be You. Do You. For You.
Written by Adaeze Divine Ekwueme