I watched this thought-provoking and emotionally charged film on Prime a few days ago. The plot revolves around a single mother’s sacrifice to protect her children from her past. It’s a love story with betrayal, forgiveness, and sacrifice.
There have been numerous online discussions about the depth of this film and its brilliant delivery; for some, it was as if their lives were being reenacted on the screen, while for others, it was a lesson in the cost of sacrifice.
Consider the following female characters:
Victoria (Sista)– embodies optimism in the face of adversity, resilience, kindness, empathy, dedication, and business acumen.
Aunty Jay– embodies the true meaning of women helping women. She identified Sista as a businesswoman and went above and beyond as a mentor and sponsor.
Tiwa (Fola’s Wife) – A woman who, despite her private insecurities, ensured her husband did the right thing by the children he abandoned; she walked the line of an outlier to support another woman. To be honest, many women would find it difficult to take Tiwa’s stance; she was a total class act!
The purpose of this article is to share some of the most important lessons I learned from this film about Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE):
1. Economic inclusion always comes before financial inclusion. Sista started a business at the university Fola was attending to meet students’ needs for quick, easy, and cheap food (noodles). That increased her earning potential.
2. Financial inclusion is essential! We never saw Sista use a bank in the film, but we can assume she used formal or informal financial services. She was saving money for her business, which she used to pay for Fola’s (her children’s father’s) tuition and maintenance. She still had business savings, which she used to go from cooking at home to opening a store.
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3. The Obstacle is the Way: I now have a better understanding of Ryan Holiday’s book. Even after the task force demolished her shop on the same day she received her ‘Dear John’ letter from Fola, Sista refused to give up. She used the strength of her resilience to launch a new cleaning business!
4. The Influence of a Good Product: Sista was an excellent product. Because she was well-mannered, professional, dedicated, and did her work with integrity, she was booked and busy every day of the week. Her customers adored her and kept her in business.
5. The Influence of Mentorship: Aunty Jay epitomizes the role of a mentor/sponsor. We can refer to her as a ‘destiny helper’ in Nigerian/Christian parlance. She went above and beyond to refer clients to sista, parting with personal and monetary gifts for a single mother who she already knew needed all the help she could get. The lesson here is that sista always gave her all in all of Aunty Jay’s referred jobs. I also noticed that she treated her with dignity and respect, despite her vulnerable situation.
6. The Influence of Aspiration: Sista, like most low-income women, has goals. We could see in the movie that she lived in a nice apartment, dressed nicely, and provided the best for her children. She refused to allow her children to work to support the family because she wanted them to do well in school. She realized her adolescent children would be missing out on things, so she bought them smart phones as well. She kept her goals in front of her to motivate her to keep working hard.
There are numerous other WEE-related insights I could share, but the bottom line is that when you empower a woman, you empower the person who empowers everyone else. Women will always find a way to make things work in the face of adversity. Every time I go to the market to buy groceries, I see a potential story in every woman, which is why I am unafraid to advocate for the economic inclusion and empowerment of low-income women.
They have stories like Sista’s, and every time you help someone by providing microcredits, insurance, savings products, low transaction fees, pensions, and so on, you are empowering someone who will empower others!