I am a girl; my name is not important, my age is just an empty number, where I come from is just another obstacle and where I live is just another barrier on the way.
In the eyes of the world I am not important; my gender is all what matters to them, not my hopes, not my dreams, not my passion, not my achievements, not my success. My gender is all what they can see and the woman I’ll one day grow up to be.
I’ve been told; make the bed, cook, clean, mop the floor, take care of your brothers, serve and nod. You have a voice but you’re not allowed to use it unless you want to say “YES SIR”. School is not important, words are not important, education is not important. Learn how to be a good housewife because sooner or later you will be offered to a man and you must master you role; obey him completely and don’t leave the kitchen unless it’s to satisfy his desires.
You will be forced to get married at the age of 15, you will still be a child but remember what you want is not important. You will have your first kid some months after; you still can’t even take care of yourself I know but this is not important; you’ve been trained your whole childhood for this day. Remember how you used to serve your brothers and your father, one more man will not be a problem.
I’ve heard what you have to say about me and I’ve had enough. Now, I am raising my voice high and breaking the silence of ignorance so it’s time for you to listen to my call.
I have hopes and dreams just like the boys. No matter what you think, I choose to stay deaf to your toxic thoughts. I was not born to serve; say whatever you want, I believe I was born to make a difference in this world and contribute to society. I want to know my rights, have enough courage to fight for my freedom. I want to learn how to say NO. I don’t want to ever settle for less than what I deserve.
I will say it over and over again; I was not created to serve men. I choose to grow outside the walls of schools not inside the cold bricks of a kitchen.
If and when I judge time is right, with all my willing, and choose partnership with no external influence; I want to know how to write my vows, I want to know how to sign, I want to educate myself about marriage before I can tie the knot.
If after some time I choose to have children and feel I am mature enough to take care of them; I want to know how to read their bed time stories, I want to go with them to career day and make them proud.
I am a girl and everything you taught me was wrong everything you said and assumed about me was wrong.
I believe in gender equality and equity. I firmly believe no girl should be deprived from education because of a gender she didn’t even choose.
My name is Malala, Noelle, Akello, Ajok, Atim, Harriet, Lydia, Beatrice I come from Asia, Africa and Latin America…I want to be an activist, a pilot, a teacher, a doctor, a mechanic, an artist, an architect, an inventor, an entrepreneur…
I refuse slavery and choose education, I choose literacy and I choose light. I choose life and refuse to bow in darkness to ignorance.
Every year World Literacy Foundation helps educate thousands of girls around the globe. Envisioning a world in which there is free access to education for all, in which every one of us can read and write regardless of their age and gender.
By acting today instead of simply reacting to this article you can make a difference in the world.
Written by Sara Chair