“She Evolves: Insights into Maximizing the 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s Decades” is a collegiate attempt at providing life nuggets for women in their 20s through their 50s and older.
It is a collection of thoughts co-authored by five women, crystallised in each of the book’s five chapters.
The writers are Mojoyin Oyadiran, Yetunde Omoarukhe, Ivana Osagie, Oyinda Ige and De GomeG. The book was published in 2020 by JFR Publishers, Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
According to the preface, the book was written to open the women folk to clarity in their struggle with purpose, self-actualisation and definition of the future. Essentially, the book sets out to give a sense of definition and direction for women – single or married in their 20s through their 50s. That is why the five authors, all of them accomplished professionals, have written this book to help the reader see the world through their eyes, draw perspectives on how to navigate the planes of marriage, career, home building and so on.
The first chapter: “In Your Prime,” written by Mojoyin Oyadiran, focuses on the challenges young people, especially women face as they transition from adolescence into adulthood. In their 20s, they begin to discover that they are on their own in a lot of ways. Bills and higher responsibilities begin to assail them, and in quick succession too. So for Mojoyin the kernel of discourse is that a new wave of reality floods your life, and you might be overwhelmed in your attempt to navigate life. But not to worry, the author highlights some of the challenges of adulting and nuggets for approaching them, including tips for adulting with grace.
For this author, self-discovery is critical as you navigate your 20s. This is because that is the time you’re building foundations for your life and also going through a major transition. The process of self-discovery allows you to learn about yourself, including your strengths and weaknesses, your passions, and helps you to craft your direction with clarity.
The author also tucks into the book, some tips for career success in your 20s, how to maximise your finances, leveraging your networks and issues around sex, and marriage questions in your 20s, the nitty-gritty of marriage, the intricacies of knowing your spouse and their ideology as well as make up, the key demands of motherhood and how this affects your self-actualisation.
In Chapter Two, titled: “Milestones, The 30s Decade,” Yetunde Omoarukhe welcomed the reader to the watershed moments of the 30s, a period when women in their 30s just want to live life. So the author perceives that the general assumption by most individuals is that everything will be sorted once one clocks 30. But for the author, to successfully navigate the 30s, people must cultivate the ritual of stock taking. “Cross check your achievements with your goals, and rate your performance so far…. Apart from conventional expectations with regards to career, financial goals, etc, females also have to deal with other societal deadlines thrust upon them.” (P66)
While asking the readers to avoid the pressures of nailing themselves for missed opportunities and wailing over unmet targets of the 20s, the author exhorts to try to take time out from the hustle and bustle to reflect, reevaluate and refresh, take a vacation, and use the period to do a soul searching. A refrain of this chapter by Yetunde Omoarukhe is this: self-reflect, and ask yourself, what you want, as against what your family or society wants.
Oyindamola Ige is the author of the third chapter, and it is captioned “Advancing Your Dreams”. Its focus is the 40s decade, and its kernel is how to patiently find the work-life balance in the midst of attempts to make the most out of life in a new city and raising children, especially in your forties, and how to achieve that without a sense of entitlement. She writes about managing your marital life in your 40s and that understanding yourself will help you to be a better and more functional wife. She states that you should not arrive in marriage trying to change your husband. So she writes, “Dear women, you can only change yourself, so instead of trying to change your husband, work on yourself first and let the change come from within you; it is only after this that you can start to see positive change in your marriage. Positive change in your marriage will seldom come from changing your spouse, because if he changes and you don’t work on yourself, then it will be a futile exercise.” (P100)
Ivana Osagie authored the fourth chapter, “Firmly Established, The 50s Decade”. In this chapter, Ivana exposes us to her credo of commitment to exploring your skillset to better your lot and that of your organisation. She also devotes some time to discussing the imperative of playing your own role to make a better nation. She believes that we’re all called to be leaders, and that we should exert our influence wherever we find ourselves. She questions the attitude of criticising those who are in government for their failures, when we ourselves cannot be part of the solution. The key for her is to do your job properly and bring order within your sphere of control and make a difference.
In this section of the book, Ivana holds out a long whip to society for its high prevalence of patriarchal proclivities, misogyny and sexism. She recalls an instance of this and states that the way to tackle this matter is to have more women at the top in the corporate world, and for the women folk to continue to speak out against this practice. She calls upon men to speak against these patriarchal problems, and also be more aware of how they sometimes consciously or unconsciously undermine women.
In Chapter Five, De GomeG shows the reader some of the common myths about women at age 50 and above. In the chapter, “Breaking through the Glass Ceiling, the 50s Decade”, De GomeG writes that some of the myths include freedom and wisdom as perceived by society. For instance, it is said that women 50 years and older usually do or wear things they want and are wiser, because she is believed to have found her purpose, and can now mentor others. She is usually passionate, and is respected for her grandmother status. She writes about some seemingly negative myths about women aged 50 and older to include the questions about menopause and sex, health and wellbeing issues, achievement metrics and retirement issues.
The author believes that at 50 and older, it is imperative for the woman to basically prepare for the future. “If you don’t build a house, you can buy or even rent one. Just ensure you aren’t going to beg. You must prepare a comfortable abode for yourself! … Learn a skill for the fun of it, the joy of it or the money from it. Just figure out how you’ll not be in the cold when you’re old!” (P156)
Consequently, she rolls out tips for breaking through the glass ceiling for women 50 and above and highlights her tested top five skills needed to succeed in your career and life. These include technical skill, emotional intelligence, artificial intelligence, passion, and management skill. Beyond these, she writes here about acquiring “political intelligence”, which is described as a potent tool that allows you to protect yourself from being employed by a rich illiterate.
In the final analysis, She Evolves is a total package in which the authors have tucked invaluable experiences fit for both young and old women, including men who are surrounded by women. The book is essentially written in free-flowing narration and in simple English for everyone’s delight.