A woman with big dreams is a force of nature. She is fierce and unstoppable and inevitably becomes an agent of change. (Tweet this) The problem though, is that most of us unconsciously limit our potential by limiting the size of our dreams. In Nigeria particularly, it’s almost as though we are waiting for permission to dream big.
The problem stems from the traditional roles given to women in this part of the world. Although it’s been decades since our women began to rise through the ranks in their chosen fields, there has been a lot of resistance. Until recently, the federal cabinet only had a handful of women ministers and those were usually for positions like women and youth affairs. In the corporate sector, we did not have a lot of female MDs either and those who dared to push the mold were labelled ‘too ambitious’ or given some other derogatory tags.
But things are changing.
Recently, the BBC ran an article on Nigeria’s growing number of female oil bosses. The writer acknowledged the fact that there was a dire shortage of women in the top hierarchy of the oil industry. Of course it is important to note that this is not unique to Nigeria, it is a global phenomenon. According to the article, women managers are still in the minority in the world’s oil and gas companies.
We have seen female bosses emerge in the finance sector with women like Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala breaking the glass ceilings that were previously existing.(Tweet this) The Director General of the Nigeria Stock Exchange was a woman, and she was not the first one either. What this tells us is that every woman has the potential to reach her highest aspirations. The question now is: How big are your dreams? (Tweet this)
Too many Nigerian women think of entrepreneurship in terms of micro finance. In their defense, banks seem to prefer giving women micro loans for SME businesses and are more wary of trusting larger sums to females. But that should not be a deterrent. If you truly desire something, and you work towards it, you will achieve it.
We need to give ourselves permission to dream big. It would be wonderful to see more women who want to invest in oil and gas or construction or other previously male dominated areas. Dreams and aspirations are not coloured by gender; we do the colouration all by ourselves. (Tweet this)
It’s okay to dream big. Let your dreams be as BIG as possible. If you are a politician, don’t just dream about being a women’s leader when you can be the President of Nigeria. Your society and environment might conspire to limit you, but you don’t have to tailor your dreams for anyone. Go dream and dream big! (Tweet this)
This article was first published in September of 2014. It has been updated and republished.