I remember my mom telling me that being a woman is a blessing as well as a responsibility. In her days she recalled, you either get married off at a young age or stay home to farm. My mom was raised as a child in Yaounde in Cameroon so didn’t witness the Nigerian Civil war that killed over 3 million Nigerians. There in Yaounde she had the opportunity to go to school while her father, my grandfather was into Oil palm business. My mom maintains that “Women are God’s unique creation“. I wouldn’t agree less
So when I was informed at work, that I my international advocacy work will also focus on women issues I was excited, not just because I am a young women with little experience in gender mainstreaming and equity , but because I can really relate to the struggle of women folk in rural communities in most developing countries. I am one of them. In case you wondering where I work? don’t worry, you can find us at Population Action Interntional (PAI)
As the many great learning opportunities at PAI keep unfolding, the fellows were sent by PAI to an event on “Women as Emerging Markets” by International Center for Research on Women (ICRW).as part of her Passports to Progress discussion series to spark rich conversation about issues likely to shape women’s lives in the coming years. Here, myself and other fellow met an amazing lady, Dr. (Ms.) Kamakshi P. Murti Professor emerita of German & European Studies Middlebury College. Like a bomb, We immediately got connected, you could hear the very amazing experience in her voice with a great smile and wish to share that experience with a bunch of young women eager to learn and get inspired. Bam!! I like her a lot (I knew my co-fellows did too). at the end of the workshop, I saw a whole new woman’s world
Kamakshi as we call her invited us to a lunch with her family recently and we had a great time, of connecting, get inspired and building a strong intergenerational friendship and mentorship. At the lunch we met with Syamala Chenulu, who is the daughter of India first woman Civil Engineer ( Mrs A Latitha GRADUATED AS CIVIL ENGINEER IN 1937). Here was a chance to ask some questions about being a woman in India in the 20th Century. the struggle for equality and fairness, and the opportunities. It was an amazing experience chatting with these amazing women, It was even a greater honour. I can imagine the challenges facing women especially rural women in India in that time, similar to what was/is happening across most developing countries. Women should not be seen as victims anymore but as a agent for positive economic and social change ( and we have proven that many times). The call for more funding for women’s empowerment and development can not be over emphasised. We will keep fighting for a better woman’ world. A big Thank you to PAI for such an amazing expereince so far and appreciation to Dr Kamakshi for her inspiring friendship towards us.
Here is an excerpt from an Article that Mrs Lalitha wrote in 1941!