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Pearl Gahwera
Member since December 7, 2015
  • 11 Posts
  • Age 27

Pearl at the beach. Photo by @slimundermine88

Pearl at the beach. Photo by @slimundermine88

Mary Lou had wanted to become a pilot for as long as she could remember. She could not because women could not be pilots. It was a “man’s” job, so she became a teacher. Women were allowed to become teachers. Even though she was smart enough to probably become one of the best pilots in her country, it didn’t matter, because she was a woman.

Mrs. Businge, her mother, was excited that Mr. Businge had “allowed” Mary Lou to have a job. In their days, girls from respectable families like hers were not allowed to work. It simply did not “look good”. The respectable families could not risk becoming the laughing stock of the entire neighborhood. Because a girl working meant that the parents could not provide for her until someone asked for her hand in marriage. They stayed home and learnt how to become the best wives and mothers that they could be.

It was the 21st century, but a lot of things hadn’t changed. Yes, she was allowed to have a job in selected occupations, but therein lay the evidence of the lack of change: the fact that she had to get permission from her parents to work. Didn’t it defeat the purpose of going to school in the first place, if the end goal wasn’t to become employed in the best sectors?

The thinking was that the job had to be one that you were able to leave at a moment’s notice. At least that’s what one of the girls who used to be a secretary said. When a worthy gentleman asked for your hand in marriage, you would quit your job and take on the role for which you had been prepared all your life, as a wife and mother.

Mary Lou didn’t want to seem ungrateful or anything of the sort. She had a good life, better than most people she knew or read about, and she knew it.

She couldn’t help but wonder though. What it would be like to be a pilot, as long as you were qualified for it regardless of your gender. What a life looked like where a girl did not need permission from her parents to pursue her dreams. Whether the sun rose and set the same way in places where a girl’s sole purpose in life was not to become a good wife and mother, as it did in her home. About her aunt, Mrs. Businge’s older sister, who couldn’t have children, and if there was another way of life for her that didn’t involve ridicule and shame because of something that she didn’t have control over.

Looking at her smile, it was impossible to tell the things that Mary Lou carried deep down in heart. Things one carried to the grave.

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