Representation matters. This two-word sentence is a very loaded one.
It is the cause that countless charitable organizations, government policies and equity-seeking groups strive for.
It is a war that has been fought the world over, across generations and somehow, is still on today.
It is a need we all feel, albeit subconsciously.
A male nurse in certain countries may be acutely aware that he is in a female dominated profession.
A woman of colour in senior management could be conscious that she is the only one at that level, and could rightly attribute her experience to the fact.
Someone may wonder whether they are the only weird folks in the room, or if anyone else enjoys their cucumber with peanut butter. Lol.
There is something about finding someone else who is like you.
I acknowledge that everyone should thrive against the tide and seek to excel even in a space where they are different. There is a place for that.
In truth, diversity is beautiful because there is something special that each mind brings to the table.
In addition to this, there is an extra fuel that comes from having someone like you also present.
Representation validates you, and what you stand for.
Imagine being a fresh Chemistry graduate who recently started working in communications. You are in a dilemma – Chemistry “gets you” but Comms come easy to you “like breathing”. Then, during your first month at the job, you learn that one of the top officials was actually a Physics graduate at first! Do you know what that simple knowledge would do to your mind? It emboldens you and opens your eyes to countless possibilities.
Representation empowers you.
This is the case of iron sharpening iron. Imagine that during an informal conversation with someone from work one day, you affirm that you are a Christian and that faith drives your life. Do you know how much easier your choices, work ethic and general outlook will make sense to that individual? Then think how pleasantly surprising it would be to know that the fellow also shares your faith, or is curious about it! 🙂
Representation requires courage.
It takes a considerable amount of strength to own up to our beliefs and/or quirks. It is way easier to mask like the rest of the world. Shout out to all those who have contributed efforts and resources to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard.
There were 5 sisters in the Bible who diverted from the norm and summoned courage to ensure that their late father’s name and legacy were not buried and forgotten. The story is in Numbers 27:1-11. The sisters’ names were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milkah and Tirzah, and their dad’s name Zelophehad. Their father died, and because he had only daughters and no sons, there was no one to take over his property/inheritance. The ladies came to Moses their leader to respectfully argue that their father needed representation within their family clan. Moses sought God’s will on the issue, and God sided with Zelophehad’s daughters. 🙂
I pray that we will find the courage to identify as our most positively authentic selves, and in so doing validate others who may be looking up to us along the way.