Sometimes I feel as if you love me. You cherish me with something akin to worship. You praise my beauty and my intelligence and you praise my compassion. But sometimes, I feel as if you hate me. As if you feel that I am somehow lesser. I dislike those moments, because they make me doubt myself. I doubt my ability to make a change and I almost give up. Almost.
At times it seems especially hard to be a woman in this world. I will not belittle the fact that there are varying degrees in the hardships of being a woman; often dependent on your ethnic, cultural and religious heritage. Regardless of your own personal background, something remains inexplicably true; women face difficulties throughout all stages of life.
Some of us have the ‘luxury’ of struggling only with equal wage; some of us struggle with unpaid maternity leave. These problems, although very, very valid, are luxurious problems. They speak of a long battle within women’s rights that has lead us to being able to discuss these kinds of problems. Rights. But we mustn’t forget that there are so many women struggling with basic necessities in life. There is a huge gender inequality in regards to education. There are far too few females represented in parliaments all over the world. Far too many women experience physical and sexual violence.
So, dear world, how do we change that? How do we instill the belief in young women that anything is possible?
The ripple effect that gender equality would have for the world as a whole cannot be underestimated. Women are just as capable as men to do any job, and when it comes to peace it has been proven that women’s participation increases the probability of peace agreements being long lasting. So, what are we waiting for?
In my vision for the future, my daughter will grow up thinking that the world is at her feet. She will negotiate, be surrounded with all kinds of different cultural influences and, within that, her global citizenship will flourish. She will grow up knowing in her heart and in her mind, that nothing is impossible. Being a women is not a deterrent or a benefit, it simply is. She will fight on equal playing fields with men and other women, and gender equality for all races, religions, cultures and countries will finally be accomplished.
Dear world, I think we have a long way to go, although it seems as if we are heading in the right direction. But would you mind hurrying a bit?
Astrid Lucia Offersen
18 years old