For Parents Who Love Their Daughters No Less

This was my longest and most difficult labour yet. More than two days I had tried to bring my last child to the world. My obstetrician and her team were one of the best in the city and they had done everything. At a point, they had begun preparing for a cesarean but the baby decided that was grand entry moment. I was overjoyed to see the face so bright and hear the cry so strong. Each moment seemed to replenish my lost strength.

I was taken to the postnatal ward and there I found my prenatal ward roommate. Even though I was weary, I began to offer my congratulations to her but I stopped when I noticed she was crying. Feeling guilty, I thought she had lost her baby. When I asked her, she wailed, “My husband and his people will chase me out”. Flummoxed, I enquired further. “Chase you out for what?”

She then went on to explain how this was her third daughter and she had been expecting a boy because she is not considered a worthy wife and mother until she births a son. This was sad to me. Here was I with my fourth daughter and I had no such fears. I knew my husband could not wait to meet his latest daughter and I realized how privileged I was in that moment. I was overwhelmed by joy that my baby and I had survived the long labour and were both healthy. I tried to console her, telling her to be grateful neither she nor the baby had died.
She shook her head in that way that signalled I did not understand what awaited her at home. It was a lot to handle, seeing this woman who should have been recovering from childbirth worrying over something she had no power over. It seemed so unfair and I wish I could do more.

It sounds like a no-brainer, something that is too ridiculous but in many parts of the world in 2019, the arrival of girls is still greeted with sadness.
A viral video recently showed a pregnant lady at a baby shower whose friends pranked her by a balloon sex reveal indicating she was having a girl. The dismay and sorrow on her face was uncomfortable at best and outright disgraceful to watch. After her shocking reaction, the real sex of the baby was announced and her face lit up with joy. With attitudes like this still in this time and age, little progress seems to have been done.
Here’s to all the parents who are fighters, who are heroes for welcoming their daughters into the world with warmth, gratitude and raising them giving them the best just as if they had had sons. These parents do not get celebrated enough.
Yes, their actions should not merit special recognition in a fair and balanced world. But when everyone from the health care staff from the labour room, relatives, neighbours, friends, daughter’s teachers, and even the media badgers you with reasons why your child is less worthy because of her sex chromosomes and you just don’t care, you deserve ice cream and everything nice.

How something that occurs as a genetic game of chance still determines the quality of life of a vast proportion of half of the population is mind-boggling. These parents ignore scorn, and raise their girls in a society that denies their right to education, healthcare, safety and job opportunities.

They made sure her wings were in good shape to fly in a world that wants to clip them.

They stay up all night when she gets her first period and rock her while she asks what the blood and searing pain means. They watch her eyes mist over anew when they have to reply to her “But this won’t happen again, right?” with the difficult truth. They support her month after month as she navigates premenstrual syndromes, heartbreak, bullying, and people who put her down at every corner.

They have to jump through hoops to protect their girls from predators in the form of teachers, relatives, neighbours, dangerous love interests, lecturers, bosses and even strangers. They live in daily fear of teenage pregnancy, abusive husbands, sexual harassment and rape of their daughters. Oh and when these things do happen as they sometimes do, they believe her, welcome her with open arms and help her heal.

If she falls into another marginalized group eg she has a disability, is of colour or wears the hijab for example, these parents do more work. They advise her, make her strong and fearless, give her love and a listening ear. They watch with pride as she becomes a successful young woman. They made sure her wings were in good shape to fly in a world that wants to clip them.
Do you wonder why these parents beam so widely on wedding days, graduation days and at other achievements. They have fought for their daughters their whole parent life and like warriors returning victorious from an impossible battle, they are glad they and their girls won.


Mariam Toye

The Future Is Female- IWD 2018

Gone are the days when deadlines prevented me from lending my voice to causes I believe in.

It’s 8 March, a day dedicated for International Women’s Day. There is a deluge of messages and events all meant to improve lives and conditions of women because sadly, these are still very poor in most places on earth. I’d like to add mine.


•Support, empower and uplift one another.

•Don’t aid patriarchy by enforcing false beauty standards, body shaming, racism, and religious hatred.

•Remember all the women caught up in conflict and natural disasters. They suffer more in these conditions, often have the responsibility of caring for children and relatives and are subject to extra horrors like rape. Use your money, influence and talent to help them.

•Self-love should be a priority. Learn it, teach it, and practice it.

•Don’t wait for a man to validate your existence. Build your dreams. If you find a man who supports you, that’s lovely. But if you don’t, be awesome still.

•Respect men. Feminism does not mean man-hating or generalising. Recognise the good ones and work together with them to achieve gender equity and basic human rights for all women.

•Develop yourself. Read more books. Read more books by women. Write! Speak! Inspire young girls!Your mind is just as important.

•Value your health and well being. Book that mammogram, pap smear and general check up. Live a healthy life.

•Don’t be afraid to push out negativity , no matter the source. Embrace positive vibes only.

•In spite of all the ills, don’t be afraid to love. Let your inner radiance shine through. Be kind and happy.

•Don’t let anyone make you feel small. It is okay to be weak sometimes. You can always get back up.

•To women breaking barriers in leadership, health, business, tech, science, arts and more, please continue to shine. You inspire millions of young girls.

•To women in places from Myanmar, Syria, to Puerto Rico, your strength is unparalleled. We hope for peace, justice and an end to all you go through.

•To all mothers, sisters, aunts, grandmothers, cousins, colleagues, friends, neighbours of all colours and creeds, keep up the good fight. You have survived this far.


•To our partners in the fight for better rights for women, thank you. Together, we would achieve our goals.

•Recognize your privilege and be conscious of its evil.

•Don’t let culture and ego make you into monsters.

•Being fair and just to women makes you stronger not weak.

•Make life better for the all women you know.

•Do all you can to end rape, discrimination and exploitation of women.


We can have a world free of gender-based violence.