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Once I Was a Baby Girl

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 creative writing piece by Emily Otoo-Quayson, a Scholar at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).

Once I was a baby girl
Wrapped in pink sheets, in a pink cot with pink gifted bags.
Every dress had drawings of fairy-tale princesses in pink castles as well. My world was pink — I was to be pink: sweet, soft, lovable, considerate. Once I was a baby, yes, a baby girl.

Then I grew into a lady. I realized that I do live in the fantasy of pink at times because it had been inscribed in my brain since childhood. But when the world grew colder and tougher, I no longer doted on pink but red. I became who I wasn’t just to fit in. When I wanted to laugh in a conference, I masked my face with a grim. That is red, isn’t it? I waited secretly to hear in whispers… she is so hardworking and professional just as our previous director.

But I suddenly realized they were missing me. I was missing me. I took off my mask and doted no longer on pink or red but any colour which fitted my mood for the day. I became blue, yellow, green, purple on some days. I became life itself.

Once I was a baby girl in pink sheets and later I was a lady in red but now I clothe myself in all colours which is life itself.

Meet Emily Otoo-Quayson

Emily’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.