Being a kid who grew up in urban areas, I never knew anything about rural places. They were places I would see on TV and life would continue. I grew up in a family where I was taught that everyone was equal and my sister and I would perform household chores on the same level. In fact, I am a much better cook than my sister. We all went to school and had the same rights. At school I would study with boys and girls; we even had more girls compared to boys, and girls occupied the top places.
In secondary school when girls talked about gender inequality, I considered it an unfair topic in which boys were meant to pay for the errors of their ancestors. I was so angry and thought that gender equality meant that girls could make fun of boys and take all the opportunities. We had different organizations that only promoted women’s rights and I thought, “What do they think about us boys? Don’t we deserve to be promoted?” I would engage in debates about gender equality because I could not understand anyone supporting it.
I grew up with that mindset until I started university. I couldn’t bear someone coming to me and telling me that there is gender inequality for women. To me, that was a fat lie and I would even argue that boys were the ones facing gender inequality.
You would not believe how drastically my opinion changed. Just like a normal university student, I got an internship with a program called Pivot Academy through Mothering Across Continents. I had to go upcountry to teach STEM material to secondary students. I had a group of 12 students, 8 girls and 4 boys. My perspective suddenly changed once I saw girls were not participating because they were not confident enough to speak, even though they represented a higher quota in the class. Further, some of their parents still had the mindset that girls were meant to be at home and perform household chores. That was when I realized there is a gap. I understood that there is still gender inequality and there are many ways that girls are still lagging behind.
In many places, girls can go to school, which is really nice. However, some of them still believe in the idea that they are behind boys. This idea could affect their lives, they would finish with average grades and have fewer chances to go to university and the only solution would for them to get married. And the circle would again begin with their kids.
I now believe in and support the mission of the organizations that fight to fill in the gaps of gender inequality by promoting the integration of girls into different institutions. That is why I decided to join Resonate’s Participants Advisory Council: I believe in their mission of changing women’s lives through leadership training. Putting my skills and knowledge for them to have the highest impact is the least I can do. My vision is to see all young girls in the future empowered to become great leaders in their communities.
David is a student at Kepler University and a member of Resonate’s Participant Advisory Council.