4 Actions We Can Take to Press for Progress
We may not be able to do great things, but the little things we do will lead to greatness. Each contribution we make towards women’s equality and empowerment is a building block towards establishing a society where women and girls will have equal rights and opportunities.
I have been pondering on easy to achieve actions that can contribute to advancing women and girls position in society. My suggestions below were informed by my most recent travels to Bangladesh and Pakistan where I have met some of the most amazing women and girls engaged in the Commonwealth of learnings’ GIRLS Inspire project.
1. Talk to women and girls
We cannot press for progress for women and girls without talking and listening to them. They have their own dreams, aspirations and ambitions. Talking to them and incorporating their views and opinions in decisions and policies that impact them is important. I recently spoke to young girls who are participating in the Commonwealth of Learning’s GIRLS Inspire project and it was clear that they know what they want. However, they do not have the resources to realise their dreams and that is where we can make a difference. We can develop strategies and plans that will help them to bring their ideas to reality.
Women achieve so many things, big and small, but most of the time it is not acknowledged, it is not celebrated. If we want to press for progress we must shine a light on women’s achievements, how modest it may be. Last week I met a young mother who was married at the age of 12(she is now 22) and could not complete her school education. She joined a skills training program of the Commonwealth of Learning and proudly displays her products. She personified success and the realization that you can change your own destiny. I want to press for progress by celebrating the success of all our women and girls in the Commonwealth of Learning’s GIRLS Inspire project
I was on a flight from Sri Lanka when they announced that we have a female captain. The name of the first officer was mentioned and as I was not sure if it was male or a female, I asked the gentleman next to me, if that was also a woman? He said “No, but what if it was?” I said, “Then I would have been very happy! Because being a female pilot was a distant, if not impossible, dream for women during the time that I was growing up.” He smiled, and I told him that I am devoted to women empowerment and I am very happy to fly with a female captain. At the end of the journey I requested a picture from our pilot. Thank you Captain Hiruni! Let us press for progress and for more females in vocations formerly dominated by men.
4. Be a Role Model
Young women and girls need role models to inspire them. If we want them to become women of influence who are making a difference in society, we must lead by example and inspire them by telling our own stories. I am privileged to meet so many women and girls in our project, and I use every opportunity to inspire them by telling them my story. Let us press for progress by becoming role models!