Father’s Day is a great opportunity to thank the men around us for the job they have done raising us. My experience is no different. My father has been a great influence in my life, and as I grow older into a strong woman who fights the hold of patriarchy, I cannot help but think he has been influential in this.
Even before I was born, it seemed that he knew the struggle for equality that I would have to go through. With his international perspective on the struggle women face, he equipped me with the biggest tool to survive this battle and named me Florkime: a traditional name from northern Liberia, his homeland. My name Florkime in the simplest terms means perseverance and to keep trying.
He has constantly reminded me that my academic efforts are valued and my personal struggles for gender equality will not go in vain. He is my constant ally and reminder that I am not forced to abide by society's stereotypes and expectations. As I grow older, this bond between us only deepens. As a man, it could be so easy for him to ignore these struggles, yet, he constantly remains a positive role model to those around him by supporting my choices and advocating when people think otherwise. To him, there is no question of what I can become or the ability that God has placed in me. He sees clearly the strength that men and women both have, and passes this on to others around him.
I encourage all fathers to demonstrate by example the effort to recognize the validity and importance of equality for everyone.
Florkime Paye is CBE's events coordinator. She recently graduated from the University of Baltimore with a masters in negotiation and conflict management. She loves traveling and has spent time in Liberia working with a women's organization. In her spare time, she dances, blogs, and reads.
Image credit: ham&pea.