So the past week, there was an extensive media coverage of George Clooney’s wedding including details of the now famous boat ride with his bride. Thanks to his generosity with the Paparazzi, we were also hugely entertained with Amal’s gorgeous looks in different outfits that for a while I thought she was going to take over Kate Middleton’s role as the fashion trend-setter (the Aden & Anias blanket Kate used to wrap Baby George in their first appearance led to thousands of orders being placed immediately, the company’s website crashing due to traffic and the blanket eventually selling out). While the media fed us with stunning images of the couple, for a fleeting moment, I wondered how, with a face and body like hers, Amal didn’t choose a less intellectually challenging career. I wondered how her beauty didn’t get in the way of her building an enviable career.
At 36, Amal is an internationally acclaimed lawyer with a license in New york and London. She represented the controversial WikiLeaks whistleblower Julian Assange. She is also said to have served on the expert panel of Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (formed by UK Foreign Secretary William Hague) to gather evidence of sexual crimes committed in conflict zones. Amal is fluent in English, French and Arabic. No wonder many celebrities including Julia Roberts have described her as smart and beautiful – a combination sometimes rare to find.
More often than not, women put their careers second. Recently, I had a conversation with a friend who has a project, though still at its infancy, that is aimed at improving the girl-child education in Nigeria. She was motivated to start the project because she is concerned that many young girls, even when they are intelligent, choose to study less challenging courses in school, avoiding Math and Engineering. She observed that even when they graduate from the university, many young women make little effort to find a job but focus more on ‘settling down’, even if that entails occupying time they would otherwise use to further their careers with serially dating several men in hope of getting a proposal from the ones who strike their fancy. Herself a successful professional and mother, She hopes to enlighten women on the need to focus more on their careers, something they have total control over, and attract the right suitors along the way. She is of the opinion, and I agree, that women should be encouraged to make meaningful contribution to the society that just doesn’t end with procreation.
Because a woman who got her career going before getting married is more likely to continue with it after marriage than one who didn’t, it will be nice to see more young women build their careers while they still got the time. There is a now viral post on social media that says: ‘If you want to change the world, do it when you are a bachelor (bachelorette). After marriage you can’t even change a TV channel’. While that is a bit of an exaggeration, it is undeniable that family life is so demanding that it takes grit, especially for women, to not lose one’s dream in the course of literally searching for car keys, shoes and socks strewn all over the house by the kids. I often jokingly tell one of my female friends, a talented doctor but who is currently a stay-at-home mom, that being a mother has a way of derailing careers. Trust me, I know.
In any case, if there’s something we can take away from Amal, it is that having a successful career can attract the right suitor including ‘Hollywood’s most eligible bachelor’. Besides, with a not-so-good economy, most households will fare better with two paychecks than with one. So if you are still looking for Mr Right, please get that master’s degree, that license, that job or whatever your dreams are. Apart from helping pay the bills, having a fulfilling career makes one a exude a confidence that attracts the right people. Humans are wired to identify with success. Therefore, ladies, take a clue from Amal and build your careers thereby heeding this advice I got from one of my professors in the university: “Women, concentrate on your careers, not men. When the time is right, you will have many of them at your doorstep and it will be your choice to make’. It’s true.
Finally ladies, married and unmarried, here’s one more reason to be successful: To make our men proud. George Clooney, as rich and famous as he is, reportedly said of Amal ‘I married up’. What better compliment can come from one’s Sweetheart?