What does it really take?

To be the first || These women have pushed beyond limits and are shaping the new norm

This post was inspired by the Hunger games Movie and the fact that the Month of March celebrates Women. These are a few of the many remarkable stories of women that made me appreciate that we are stronger than we are made to think. Being the first takes a lot, but even more when you are a woman. Lets not even talk about the other parts to being a woman. They made big things happen by whatever means possible. From those breaking boundaries (an creating a new norm) to those conquering in male dominated sectors. Just name it.

19 year old Halima Aden

Halima went from Refugee to Runway. She was born on a Kenyan refugee camp, grew up there with people from Somalia, Sudan and the likes. Her family sought asylum  after which they moved to the US when she was six.
The Somali- American model defied all odds to contest in the Miss Minnesota pageant just after President Trump’s Victory. This was a time when muslim women in America were scared of dressing in hijab in public. She became the first beauty pageant contestant to wear a Hijab.
Her action shot her into limelight and she has been signed to top class modeling agency IMG amongst other big runway gigs. She says “Don’t ever change yourself..Change the game”. According to Halima, truly diversity is beauty. Halima talks about her skin care and bumpy relationship with braces here.
Don't ever change yourself..change the game - Halima Aden Click To Tweet

22 year old Tiera Guinn

I think she is the millenial figure of “Hidden figures” exposed, as her story mirrors or rather sequels the award winning movie. She is already working with NASA and their partner Boeing, as a Rocket Structural Design and Analysis Engineer (I almost bit my tongue) eventhough she is yet to graduate from MIT with a 5.0 (yes you guessed right ).
The 22 year-old has been working with them for 2 years on a Space rocket that will be launched soon and is considered to be the biggest thing to happen in history. She always wanted to be an Aerospace Engineer since she was six.
To young people looking to be like her she advices that “No matter how tough it maybe no matter how many tears you might cry you have to keep pushing. And you have to understand that nothing comes easy. Keep your eyes on the prize, you can succeed”
In her recent interview featured on business insider She talks about, Impostor syndrome, all things STEM and her plans to take humankind to Mars by the next decade.

26 year old Nana Abu-Bonsrah

Nana Bonsrah The first

She made history as she became the first black female to match into a neurosurgery residency at the Almighty JohnHopkins University School of Medicine. Nana was born in Ghana. She lived there for 15 years before moving to the US to pursue her dreams for the past 11 years.
This feels extra special for her as she is also the first doctor from her family. Nana’s Husband is also a 3rd year Medical student in University of Maryland. Talk about the power couple!
Nana aspires to be able to give back to her home community as her career flourishes either through improving the surgical infrastructure or mentoring upcoming surgeons. Somebody please give me ghana jollof! My brain could do with the extra..lol

Related: After 130 years Harvard Law Review Elects Black Woman President

38 year -old Aisha Bakari Gombi

Aisha the Queen Hunter

This is the woman taking on Boko Haram and protecting her town from their attacks. Growing up, Aisha used to hunt baboons and antelopes with her grandfather, now she hunts Boko Haram in Adamawa state, Nigeria and leads a band of hunters  in Gombi Town (that consists of men and women).
This game hunter believes that her true calling is hunting and protecting her people. When she is not hunting , she is making dresses (as a tailor). Recently she was recognized in a turbaning ceremony with a title of “Queen Hunter”. According to her, “Boko Haram know me and fear me”, she said.
She says she will continue to fight as long as Boko Haram poses a threat to her community. However her desire is for the Nigerian Government to equip them with more sophisticated weapons to continue fight. Talk about bravery at its peak! Does she not inspire you?

18 years old Magret Bulkley

Dr. James Barry

This woman did what she had to do just so she can be who she wanted to be. For 56 years she lived as Dr. James Barry. Her story was described as one of the earliest and longest deceptions about gender identity ever, by Michael du Preez.
As early as age 18 she changed her name and gender in order to fit as a man. She did this just so she could get a chance to study medicine at Edinburgh University. After medical school she went on to enroll in the Army. He was the “lady killer”lmao, she really had them fooled. Most notably was her rise to one of the highest army ranks and performing the first ever successful caesarian operation in the whole of the British Empire.
It was until her death in 1865, that her secret was uncovered by the women who cleaned her body. This then made her UK’s first female doctor till 50 years later when women were allowed into medicine practice. Some say she may have just been a hermaphrodite and chose to conceal the truth, rumor also had it that some markings on her body at postmortem examination pointed to the fact that she likely had had a child while she was alive. Hmm… Talk about resilience and putting ALOT on the altar for a dream career! 

Look at that picture again…How did she explain her earring piercings? By the way, who watches that Nigerian show where Mary Lazarus’s Character disguised as a man so she can get a job?

Related: Britain’s first black female footballer revealed after a case of mistaken identity

Savitribai Phule

She is known as the Indian woman that broke traditional stereotypes to become the first female teacher and run the first girls’ school. She was born 1831 and at the age of 9, she was married to a 12 year old. Her husband taught her how to read and write. By 1848 She and her husband started the first women’s school.
She went on to establish more schools in the same year. This can with a lot of trouble ofcourse, but she did not waver and by 1851 she was running 3 female school with about 150 female students. She used innovative methods to make students love to learn and offered stipends to attract the students and keep them interested.
Savi died on the 10, March 1897. She inspired the young girls to demand the change they needed and embrace multiple creative activities. Phule’s Initiatives still inspire modern day education systems. University of Poona was renamed to Savitribai Phule Pune University.
As a woman you don’t have to be a certain way to be who you are called to be. It may look like a a man’s world but we just need to come out as winners without getting caught up in the war. Whatever it is you can do, if it feels right, just do it. Labels are social constructs and it takes one person to change the perspective. You don’t have to be super woman, so it is not a thing of muscle.  To be the first does not necessarily mean you have to be the best. It just takes extra guts. Never let it be about the reward of recognition, rather it should be about making it easy for others. Special Shout out to the men who have been supportive.
I couldn’t get to doing the other two posts on the Women in a changing world of work, so i had to come up with  this make up post. I hope you find this motivating like i did.
There is a woman at the beginning of great things - Alphonso de Lamartine Click To Tweet
Ijeoma.....xoxo
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4 Comments

  1. Oh man! I love reading stories like dis. The one on the refugee girl turned beauty queen/model is so inspiring. She didn’t let her circumstances stop or define her. Every other lady there who’s made history & are thriving in their chosen field, 💪💪.
    Such a lovely post Ij. Weldone!

    1. Author

      Yes ooo! No settling because of excuses. Thanks Jessica. Your comment made my day.

    1. Author

      You are welcome dear. I am glad you found it inspiring.

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