Being a Guyanese woman means being strong, because it takes strength of mind, body and spirit to live day by day in a less than perfect country. It means taking responsibility for my life and what I want from my life, even though I might be afraid. – Estherine Adams
Editor’s Note – Estherine Adams is one of our young Historians. In a country where we have often been led to undervalue history and to overlook its worth in improving our lives, I believe that every historian is a hero. They preserve something of ourselves and they help us look at who we are and once were in ways that we are otherwise afraid to do alone. The following is a summary of Estherine’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.
I am Estherine Adams. I am a lecturer in the Department of Social Studies at the University of Guyana. I am pursuing life as an academic and I want to serve my community as best as I could, but I also want to be married and have many children, all the while maintaining my identity as a child of God.
To me, being a woman is more than biological. Being a Guyanese woman means being strong, because it takes strength of mind, body and spirit to live day by day in a less than perfect country. It means taking responsibility for my life and what I want from my life, even though I might be afraid.
The best thing about being a woman in Guyana is challenging the notion that I can be put in a box. I can be sassy and sarcastic, but I can also be sweet; confident most times but painfully shy and awkward other times. I’m not very athletic, but I’m intelligent, a superb cook, and I like to look good.
The hardest thing about being a woman in Guyana is having to deal the historical stereotypes and preconceived ideas about who a woman is or should be. So for instance, if you are past thirty and you are not married or you do not have any children you are constantly bombarded with questions or remarks about when either is going to happen. So it appears as though all your other achievements do not matter if you do not fulfil the traditional definition of womanhood.
If I could change one thing in the lives of our women it would have to be helping them to get rid of low self-esteem. This in my opinion will help to correct many other social ills in our society like suicide and domestic violence, where many women remain in situations of abuse because they feel as though “they can’t do better”.