Have you ever met someone who lives life like a BOSS? You ask them about their day and everything they say after that is a mix of awesome, cool and inspiring? To put it in other terms, they are “totally G, the best, admirable”… hence the term “Like a boss”.
This happened to us every day during the World Vision Australia Global One Experience Trip to Nepal. We met so many Bosses/”Bawses” that it became a personal joke between the team. However, what started as funny actually became really interesting and inspiring when we realised that the majority of these Bosses were women who had overcome oppression/ fought against the norm.
So Steff and I decided to dedicate a 3 part series on #BOSSwomen. Over the next few weeks we will share their stories and explain how no matter who you are, where you are from, or what resources you have available to you…the #BOSSwomen status is achievable.
Some #BOSSwomen in Nepal…
- The petite elderly women who carried heavy piles of firewood on their backs up hills and rocky roads as we struggled to even reach the top carrying a water bottle…
- The pregnant mothers who trekked hills for 6 hours in order to give birth safely and get pregnancy and childcare advice, only to return to work in 24 hrs…
- The selfless underpaid teachers who taught double-sized classes…
- The women who started local credit unions, and funded their own businesses to support themselves and their children while their husbands worked overseas…
- And the countless other survivors, fighters, human rights advocates, community leaders, and mums who are all heroes and #BOSSwomen in their own way
Steff’s life-changing encounter with #BOSSwoman in Nepal
One of first times I came in close contact with a #BOSSwoman, a powerful thing happened. The energy that exuded from this woman was so positive and encompassing, it reeled me in.
Sangita* was an ‘ex-bonded labourer’ until Nepal abolished slavery 13 years ago in 2002.
At eight years old girl, she was separated from her family and sold into a household of hard labour. Sangita described the physical and emotional torture she experienced, as well as sexual abuse, from the family she worked for.
She spoke with strength and kindness, and gained my respect within moments.
Today Sangita is a respected leader in her the Chisapani Development Project. She works hard to see her community thrive, by helping other ex-bonded labourers rehabilitate into everyday life. Sangita contributes to the decisions made in her neighbourhood and is a role model for younger women living there.
After hearing Sangita’s story, I felt like a BOSS just standing in her presence… you could say I was #BOSSwoman by association. But after leaving that space, Sangita stayed with me…
I realised the opportunities and resources that I assumed normal in my life, were in fact extensive. I saw that my own humility was far above what it should be, and as I was confronted with the first-hand experiences of Sagnita’s life, I realised that I was blind to the ridiculous luxury of my own.
Time went on, and I started to feel less and less BOSS. Her energy was wearing off on me and I realised I needed to start being my own #BOSSwoman
“A wave of #BOSSwoman perspective knocked me around.”
There was no difference between her and I, except the worlds we were born into. But to see what this woman had achieved when life had given her so little, I was challenged to look more closely at my own. This is the conclusion I came to:
Being a #BOSSwoman in your own community is about prioritising the resources you have – time, skills, connections, money etc. – and using them for the worthwhile things, even when you might face oppositions.
For me, that meant quitting competitive hockey (12 hours per week) to start writing an ethical blog. I set aside a weekend to edit a video of my Nepal trip so my friends and family can see the beautiful work of World Vision in Nepal.
My flexible vegetarian diet (which I chose for sustainability reasons) became a strict one, and I switched my energy provider to a renewable company.
At times it has been really hard, when some things take longer than expected and when I feel my priorities sliding. It’s also been hard to say no to a lot of things I would have said yes to in the past.
But go figure, that #BOSSwoman feeling started to reel me in again, and as I implemented change, I became associated with Sangita the #BOSSwoman in a whole new way.
*Sangita’s name was changed for privacy reasons.
- Subscribe now to be the first to receive #bosswomen article, Part 2
- Be a boss and help people in Nepal recover from the recent earthquakes here