Saturday, 7 February 2015

#HeForShe 10x10x10 Response

I watched this video a few weeks ago:

There are a fair few questions aimed at getting people's personal stories out there, and though I have no shocking tales of gender equality, I'd like to answer the ones that I can.

"Girls: who have been your mentors?"
I come from a family where I have always been surrounded by strong women. I am related to women who battle illness and yet continue with the things that they love and enjoy. I am related to women who aren't afraid to go where the world and their ambitions take them, even if that is to live in a different country speaking a language that is not their own. I am related to women who suffer grief and loss and yet continue to help others who need them. These women are my inspiration, women I aim to be like.
Recently I have been considering leaving my current school at the end of this year to study in college. Instead of telling me to just stay, my teachers have listened to me, offered advice, yet accepted that the decision is mine. These teachers told me to focus on what is right for me and what I want to do. These teachers are my mentors.
I follow various celebrities who aim to inspire confidence and pride in their fans, to teach them that they can do anything that they want to do. These people have inspired me to dream, and dream big. No one can tell me that it is impossible: I can just prove them wrong.

"Parents: did you make sure you treated your children equally?"
My mum has never made me feel like 'just a girl'. I am an only child, so obviously I have not faced any sort of sibling rivalry, but I have always been made to feel like my opinions are valued and my decisions are important. I have been taught the value of independence, and not relying on others to do all my work for me. I have never heard my mum make a sexist joke in either direction. I have never been told that I need a man in my life to do jobs for me. Sometimes, I've learned, you just need to get on with it.

The rest of the questions, I can't really answer. But I will say that, as I attend an all-girls' school, I have become accustomed to seeing women in leadership roles. We have a female headteacher, female deputy heads, head girl, all-female leadership team, girls mentoring other girls, girls supporting their female friends...

I have seen and known for myself that women and girls are capable, strong and inspirational. And we will not be told otherwise anymore.

(To read more of my thoughts on feminism, check out this blog post. To watch the video of Emma Watson's speech at the UN conference, head here.)

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