“If the world was run by women, there’d be no war, just a bunch of angry countries not talking to each other.”
The popular joke encompasses what most of us believe about how women relate to each other. It’s said that:
“Women can never get along.”
“Women are so jealous of each other, even their friends.”
“Women will always back stab you.”
“Sisterhood doesn’t exist like brotherhood does.”
For years, I’ve struggled with this idea that women inherently dislike and distrust each other and that they can never get along. I saw this manifest itself in school where girls would form cliques that in themselves, weren’t bad, but these cliques were used to wage silent wars and animosity. In media, this is enforced by movies and reality TV shows that are centred around women’s hatred, distrust and animosity towards each other.
Until very recently, I thought that this was the way it has always been and the way it will always be. I reasoned that perhaps women are wired differently and so the concept of sisterhood becomes a fantasy… Until I met women who convinced me otherwise through their actions.
One such example is of my family in particular. Whenever there’s an extended family affair in African culture, from birthday parties, to funerals and weddings, the women congregate in the kitchen, share tasks, cooperate and help each other. It is more than a chore. To me, it represents the possibility that women can work together, get along and make amazing things happen.
I do not believe that sisterhood is a myth. Yes, it may be difficult, but it is certainly not a myth. I believe in the power of women to come together in an authentic, loving, cooperative manner to help each other, encourage each other and work productively together.
It doesn’t mean that it’s easy. It needs us to be more secure in ourselves, our identity and talents. It needs us to understand that we’re in this together. It needs us to understand that there is more than enough success to go around, that it’s okay to share. It needs us to see every woman as a sister.
Some will say that for women, true sisterhood is impossible. But for as long as I live, I will endeavour to make sisterhood a reality.