I Can and I Will

International Women's Day 2018

International Women’s Day 2018

In celebration of International Women’s Day and the African Women’s Leadership Conference at Wellesley College, Scholars explain how gender has shaped their leadership journeys. The following is a poem by Natalie Lyrica Kagole, a Scholar at Michigan State University. She is currently pursuing her studies in Psychology.

I left my home to present my stock
But little did I know that I would be asked to stop
“No, you can’t go through, you have the strategy and the tools but your design is just not full”
I ask how full do you want it so I can find my way through
He says, “It does not matter, your social status still won’t let you”
I plead out loud will all respect and poise
But still I find that he does not care for my cause
I scratch my brain to understand the construct he posed
I am learned and equipped so why not let me in
I can help, I can lead and his words and ideas, they sounded just like mine
He says, I am sorry, too late, your fingers are too soft
And to shape this world you need some muscle, maybe even a lot
All that I see that you’ve got is smiles and grace
And this works against the very purpose you crave
So, go home young lady because home is your place.

I sit by the gate, too stubborn to give in to this fate
I ponder and wonder why he said, “It’s too late”
My sister and daughter will be on their way
I am determined to clear the path if there is a price, I will pay.
Through stories and songs, I rose to a place where I could at least take a stand
Even though It was not exactly what I had planned
I joined arms with my sisters and told villages of all he had done
Now nations and governments are starting to understand
I found my way through that gate that was once locked by him
And now I can’t rest, till I find my way to the top right besides him.
I am ready and steady, I can and I will.

Natalie’s story is part of a series for International Women’s Day that is highlighting stories from Mastercard Foundation Scholars about how gender has shaped their leadership journeys. Continue reading more posts in the series here.