Own your space; don’t buy the space! – Hilda Obo Mbrah

A woman owning her space means her ability to take full control over herself and come across any barrier regardless of the challenges she faces. It means her ability to exude confidence with ease and poise.

Pageantry is one of the spaces ascribed mostly to women to show their capabilities depending on whatever niche it is about. Now, different people have different meanings they ascribe to pageantry. For some, it is your ability to catwalk so well, how pretty a lady looks in makeup, and not forgetting how good you are at accumulating more votes.

Can we look beyond these metrics and realize women have a lot to offer other than our curvy bodies, pretty faces, and who can garner more votes or not?

For us in Ghana, much relevance has been placed on who can accumulate more votes instead of paying keen attention to who is bringing more value to the table and who is competent enough in terms of the criteria given.

Now, how do you expect me to own my space if the space has been narrowed to my ability to get more votes to keep me in a contest? The reality of this is that, if I’m unable to gather some money to buy votes, I’m automatically not fit for the position.

Should money necessarily be a barrier to owning spaces?

How do you judge my competency with 40% of the marks carved for my number of votes? How do you name a pageantry ‘Miss communicator’ but evict contestants based on votes? Again, how do you give such a name to a contest but bring fashionistas as judges to judge contestants? It is no indisputable fact that some individuals who find themselves in different industries are versatile and can do many things at a time but I say unapologetically that, a jack of all trades who isn’t a master of each trade is just like a blunt knife!

Do organizers need competency or the ability of a contestant to market herself and invest so much into votes when at the end of the day, the prize may not be at par with money invested in votes?

In many contests and for that matter pageantries, I understand organizers need the money for votes to sponsor the event and cannot do without it as it has become a norm. Sorry to say but normality is a cliché.

How do you expect a woman to own her space when in actual sense, the space has been restricted which makes all her efforts in vain?

We seek to create spaces to propagate change but the system remains dormant.

Society wants a strong woman but not one with so many opinions. Unfortunately in our part of the world, you are expected to be a part of a system without necessarily speaking against the system.

Haven’t we come to the crossroads to change that narrative?

There is so much pain embedded in the hearts of like-minded women because it’s been too long a time since mediocrity has been upheld.

At the end of the day, I do not want to be known as a woman who kept her mouth shut when so many things were going wrong.

At the end of the day, I will not relent but speak up and have the fervor to speak my mind with respect and caution, courage and determination to bravely face my problems, and the zeal to stand up for my conviction.

Malala Yousafzai said, “I raise my voice not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard. We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back.

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