I was drinking a glass of water in our faculty kitchen the other day when another student walked in and said: “Ah, Sakeena. Nice to see you here where you belong.” The look of confusion my eyebrows drew must’ve urged him to explain, “In the kitchen, the place where women are most happy.”

Gasp, choke, faint… horrific, right? In this era of liberalism there are guys that hold those “dark aged” opinions, and at a university where we’re supposed to be free and progressive thinkers. You’re probably wondering what my response was other than possibly choking on my water. I gulped the rest down, said “you’re joking” and made my escape.

Even though we pretend to have moved away from archaic notions of men and women and their “places” in society, it still exists. So, as women, do we continue trying to fit into a “man’s world”, becoming pseudo men to express how equal we are?

A firm, solid handshake to prove you’re as tough as the boys, power suits with exaggerated shoulder pads to express strength and authority, and no tears – those are for “girls”. We wouldn’t want to come across as what we really are would we, because over time the essence of being female has been sacrificed for the right to fit in.

Even the labels we give ourselves in our efforts to be equal make it less so and more like we’re trying to measure up to a standard; female stock brokers and lawyers, business women, female athletes, ladies soccer, women boxers.

I guess what I’m saying is you don’t need to “burn your bra” to be equal. The women in the 1960s didn’t either, that was just misrepresented by the masculine powers that be at the time, painting feminists as men haters.

Equality comes from realising that even though you have smaller shoulders, a higher-pitched voice and smaller feet which thankfully don’t get compared to another part of our anatomy, power is our birthright too. Those outer elements have no bearing on how smart and focused we are.

I can cook – because I like being in the kitchen; I can change a tyre – because I drive and need to know how; I can throw a punch and do clap push-ups, jump a fence and I can do it in stilettos if I had to and none of that scores me points in the equality ratings because the fact that I am, is enough.

So to all the ladies out there, your place is where you willingly choose, your power is in your presence, your equality your right. Don’t compromise your womanhood, embrace it. Peace…