…being a Guyanese woman means culture, education, loyalty and family is our backbone, it means you’re now Aunty or Ms Lady to a lot of random children running around the streets of Guyana. – Ruqayyah Boyer
Editor’s Note – I met Ruqayyah at St. Stanislaus College in 2006, if my old brain remembers well. The first thing I noticed about Ruqayyah was her headscarf. There were very few Muslims at our school. The next thing I noticed was her prettiness. I would later come to associate Ruqayyah with the phrase “black, beautiful and proud”. I was happy to see a coloured woman so comfortable in her skin. The thing about us coloured women in the Caribbean is that we’re always trying to change ourselves. It always inspires me to see a sister stay natural and embrace natural.The following is a summary of Ruqayyah’s responses to a series of questions asked by the More Than Just a Woman Campaign. It is not to be reproduced in part or whole without permission from the Lady Magazine & NGO.
My name is Ruqayyah Boyer and I’m the reigning Miss Guyana International, former Miss Guyana World 2013 and Universe 2012. Apart from serving Guyana as an international beauty and goodwill ambassador, my past background includes working as a Flight Attendant, Journalist/Reporter, Television Host and not forgetting my first love the performing arts. At present I’m involved in several social cause projects and business pursuits to further enable my brand in the world of entrepreneurship. I am still studying too.
Being a woman for me means you’re easily the most powerful and inspiring creature on earth after God. Maybe it’s by divine providence or maybe my interpretation of womanhood is fed by some alternate reality which many aren’t privy to. But it’s my belief that though women are often fed seconds in a man’s world we’re quite capable of achieving the unthinkable and we’ve all the right ingredients to do so. Being a woman for me also means I get to cry and hurt publicly and develop strength from my tears without being judged for it.
Being Guyanese and woman; means I am one of the special South Americans who has no trouble speaking English whether it’s Creole or Standard and I get along with my neighbours Venezuela and Brazil just fine because a part from the great GT hospitality in my blood, we Guyanese women know how to ‘mind business’ and make it sound like sweet conversation. We get brownie points for knowing how to cook food originating from Chinese, Amerindian, Portuguese, African, Indian and European.
Furthermore, being a Guyanese woman means culture, education, loyalty and family is our backbone, it means you’re now Aunty or Ms Lady to a lot of random children running around the streets of Guyana. More so, you absolutely cannot enjoy a party without some good Soca music and it means when it comes to placement in politics or any executive position like anywhere else in the world, you have to work ten times harder than average to have a voice because we’re constantly overshadowed but then again being a Guyanese woman means we’re full-fledged optimist with a touch of practical so there is hope still for all of us willing to rise to the occasion.
The best thing about being a woman in Guyana is that we are known for our diversity, being well rounded/grounded, strong hardworking and self-motivated individuals. The downside of being a Guyanese woman is that we are our worst enemies. Instead of empowering each other we stab at each other constantly when seeing the progress of another. It is the saddest thing ever to not be able to heartily encourage or assist our own women in reaching their truest potential.
If I could change one thing about being a woman in Guyana, I believe it would be to help empower them by teaching them how to be more confident. For me there is nothing sexier than a woman who exudes confidence and nothing would make me happier than to see our very own women walking the walk and talking the talk. Confidence building would be the game changer in the lives of many and in the issues facing our Guyanese women.