You're a young girl, a teen, a child to some, but soon you will be continuing further on the strange and glorious journey of womanhood.
There are so many things I would write you about this journey, and many are things you will learn for yourself, in time. But for now, I write to you, sweet girl, regarding this one aspect of your being that is the most beautiful thing about you, yet sadly sometimes the most difficult...
You are a woman.
You're also a human being, and a unique and precious soul, but as well as all this, you are a female – a woman.
And while this a wonderful thing, it's also a tough thing, baby girl, because we live in a world that is often subject to the various mistaken beliefs and thoughts that permeate it. And sometimes, somehow, the end result will leave you thinking that you – a girl, a woman – are not such a wonderful thing after all.
But nothing could be further from the truth.
You deserve respect.
Does this annoy some? Then they have forgotten that it was one of our kind who bore them into this world with sweat and pain and tears and blood. They have forgotten that we all – men and women – are irrevocably bound by our mutual humanity.
Like me, you will not understand why this holds no sway in the realms of safety and wages and rights. We, as women, have to fight for these and more. But it does not change the fact that all of humanity, with its mash of gender and colour and religion, still boils down to one thing – human beings.
The world may have an issue with your femaleness, but they can never do anything about your humanness.
You manifest intelligence.
Does this affront some? Then they have not read the works or heard of the inventions or felt the impact of women's minds in unhindered action.
There is so much evidence of powerful intelligence – female intelligence – that has disrupted this world with brilliance and blasted enlightenment through murky clouds of slow advancement.
Intelligence runs through the veins of our gender, baby girl – and yes, of the male sex too. Yet it seems unfeasible to some that we, as women, could ever match the intelligence of our male counterparts. Such people evaluate intelligence based merely on the gender of the intellectual.
Ironically, the only thing that can measure one's level of intelligence is, well, the level of their intelligence...
You have a voice
Does this frustrate some? Then they have not heard clearly the voices of the women who have gone before us and who have changed their communities, their countries, and even the world with the strength of their voices.
Or perhaps it pains them not only to hear a woman's voice added to the fray, but also to witness the rippling effects of her sound waves. Such thinkers will wonder, darling girl, how it is that you, a woman, can combine your beliefs and passions and skills, put your voice to a cause, and soaringly – inconceivably – perform. Yet perform you will.
Could it be that the reason we women are oppressed and suppressed and repressed is simply due to fear? Could it be that the world is afraid of women who will not be held back by their gender?
The mystery may remain, but it cannot muffle the worldwide chime of our voices in full chorus.
So sing loud, baby girl. Sing loud and clear.
You are worthy
Does this pop the gender-gap bubble? Then they have not realised that hundreds of thousands of women and men are with us on this stance.
For every "woman oppressor" that rants, you and I are affirmed and acknowledged by many more people as having obvious value in society, the workplace, the home. As women, we have a unique viewpoint, bringing freshness and insight into the world.
Believe it, baby girl. Because that is the secret of your unwavering confidence in the very thing that they would like to cripple you with – you are a woman. And that is a part of your worth.
You are not alone
You are part of a long line of extraordinary ordinary women. Women who were not defined by their status. Who dared to see beyond themselves with courage and love. Who stood bravely for the good of others, regardless of whether the "others" were male or female.
Their legacy is your legacy, beautiful girl.
Remember this whenever you face the anti-feminist backlash, or dare to seek equal pay, or boldly speak out on behalf of your sisters around the world.
You are not alone.
You are a woman
By default, this means you will be forced to take a stand. Against oppression and disrespect. Against domestic abuse. Against the gender wage gap. Against any gap that has nothing to do with competence or confidence, and everything to do with differences in beliefs, or skin colour, or the pathetic excuse of gender.
It seems unfair that you and I have no choice but to fight for the bridging of the gaps. We didn't choose this war. We don't want to have to prove ourselves over and over.
But when the going gets tough, baby girl, stand tall and remember...
Yes, you are a woman
Smart? You bet. Worthy of respect? Definitely. Deserving of equal pay? Of a voice? Of genuine affirmation as a human being?
Yes, yes and yes.
Go change the world, beautiful woman
Dedicated to all women who are underpaid, undervalued and underestimated, simply because they are the beautiful truth: "Yes, I am a woman." #heforshe
Emma is an Italian-South African with a New Zealand passport, living in Papua New Guinea. After years of running a puppet ministry and directing student choirs, she currently serves with Mission Aviation Fellowship. Emma's deep joy is in writing, music, playing with her ginger cats and finding God in unexpected places.
Emma McGeorge's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/emma-mcgeorge.html