Blog | Mothers, don’t be afraid of stepping out of the spotlightIdes Ofune 18th July 2019 0 COMMENTS
Few weeks ago I wrote about Ursular von der Leyen, the recently confirmed President of the European Commission. She is a 60-year-old mum of seven and the first female European Union Commissioner. Her nomination is very personal to me. On my Facebook wall, I talked about how she was a housewife for four years and also encouraged women to pursue their career goals even if they are afraid of stepping out of the spotlight for a while. I am writing about her because I got inspired by her story.
I had earlier written about my struggles being a housewife while taking care of my child after moving to join my husband in the UK. It was such a challenging period for me and it took a massive toll on my self esteem. I thought I was never going to get back on track after taking such a long break. Anyways, I realise now that most women have the same fears and I was not alone.
You can understand my elation seeing a woman who has gone through the whole reproductive cycle, come back to her desired career path and has now gotten to the peak. In my heart, I say to myself, if Ursula can do it, so can I. Although I know she is not a perfect example because of her wealthy background – she must have had access to a great support system that women from regular backgrounds like mine might not have access to. Nonetheless, I see her as a great inspiration for women who have fears about child bearing affecting their careers. So I say, congratulations Ursula!
As for mothers, don’t be afraid of stepping out of the spotlight for a while for reproductive reasons. If you have chosen to have children, please do them the honour by nurturing and caring for them. They need your love and attention. However, if you have the support system where you don’t need to stay out of work for a while, you are also right. Let no one shame you for your decision to continue working. However, if you belong to the category of women who for one reason or the other, have to step out for a while, go for it. Ursula has shown us it can be done. Staying away for a few years does not mean the end of your career. What goes around comes around. You will be back and better but be ready to work hard for it.
Ides Ofune is currently a PhD Student at the University of Leeds. Her research focuses on civil society and accountability in improving the quality of education. She is the founder of Desert Bloom Initiative and editor of Desert Bloom Advisory. Ides is very passionate about education and creating an inclusive society. She speaks French and English fluently. She can be reached at email@example.com