Building self-esteem is not an easy task. This is because a
woman cannot just decide to value herself more. Rather, she
must change deeply held beliefs that she may not know she has.
Often these changes must happen indirectly, through
experiences that allow a woman to see herself in a new way.
Change can come through building on strengths a woman
already has, like her ability to form close, supportive
relationships with others, or from learning new skills.
➤ A woman’s
choices she makes
about her health.
As a child Malika was expected to be quiet and follow orders. When she
was 18, her mother forced her to marry a military man. Malika was in love
with someone else, but her mother did not care. The military man was an
After they had been married for a number of years and Malika had given
birth to 4 children, her husband stopped coming home at night. Friends would
report that he had been with other women. Malika complained to her mother,
and her mother told her to just live with it—this was how her life would be.
Eventually Malika’s husband moved out to live with his girlfriend. Malika felt
very sad and worthless.
One day Malika was given the opportunity to enter a program where she
would learn to take care of children at the community school. She decided to
try, even though she had never worked away
from home before. Learning new skills
and being with the children and
other women in training changed
Malika. She began to see she
had some worth outside her
marriage and that she could be a
productive worker. Malika then
began to think about what she
could do for her family and what
she hoped to accomplish in
As an adult, Malika learned
new skills and began to
value herself more.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012