Her Resilience

June 26, 2024 Zoya Ahmad Raj, Eye On Ivy Intern

‘Don’t sit down and wait for opportunities to come. Get up and make them.’

Staring at her reflection in the mirror, Madam CJ Walker could see the difference in her hair, it was getting worse. She had lost more than ever before, and none of her brothers had found a way to help her. According to them, she was suffering from a scalp ailment, and they had no cure.

This was unacceptable to her; she loved her hair and believed it to be a part of who she was. There was nothing she could do, she was merely a washerwoman with no spare money to get a treatment. That was until she met Annie Malone, a female entrepreneur who came from humble beginnings. Annie used her hair products on Madam CJ Walker and helped her grow her hair again.

Madam CJ Walker knew then and there that she wanted to start her own business and sell her own products. Having little money, she started by experimenting with many homemade remedies and store-bought products. Soon, she made her own product called ‘Madam Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower’, a scalp conditioning and healing formula. She started selling from door to door to black women who never had time to care for their hair. She was determined to have her products sold no matter what.

However, she faced a lot of criticism from society, especially since she was a woman. A woman was expected to take care of children and the household or have minor jobs. They were to be seen and not heard.

Yet Madam CJ Walker was resilient. She began manufacturing her goods and products and started her factory. She soon came to be the first female self-made millionaire in the world.

Her story inspired thousands of others; she represented all women who wished to contribute to their society by starting their own businesses.

Just like that, local women can start their enterprises, and stand against the people who believe otherwise.

However, it may not seem as easy as it sounds.

Local women in Pakistan face many challenges, these include cultural norms, lack of education and skills, limited access to opportunities, gender discrimination, and balancing work with family responsibilities.

Violence against women is also widespread, mostly in rural areas. If these issues can be dealt with, women’s employment rate will rise and give birth to many local women-led enterprises. The economy can improve and so can the position of women in society.

Organizations like the Kaarvan Crafts Foundation can help these local women start their businesses and do marketing. They can empower women and work on different projects to teach them skills required for leading enterprises. These local women can represent women’s empowerment which is the key to economic growth, political stability, and social transformation.

Just like Madam CJ Walker, they can bring a change in not only themselves but also the world.