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Essays About Women'S Day

“I am a girl who came from Africa, where educating a girl child is regarded as a waste of money and waste of time…” so begins Malaika Boschin’s award-winning essay. About 50 people attended a reception for young writers on March 8 at the Ashland United Church of Christ. The event was sponsored by the Ashland branch of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), and was the culmination of an essay contest the group offered for International Women’s Day.

“This is the first year that the Ashland branch of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom has offered this essay contest. We wanted to call attention to International Women’s Day, and to increase local awareness of WILPF, both in the community in general and among the young people as well,” said Mary Ann Jones, a member of WILPF’s Ashland branch.

Students from Ashland Middle School and Ashland High School were asked to write 500 to 600 words answering the question, “Women around the world do not have equal access to education. How does their experience compare to yours?”

Five winning essays were chosen. The winning authors are Malaika Boschin, Sara Tahvili Shaw, Sierra Repp, Adara Lanning and Alexandra Westrick.

WILPF aspires to promote world peace through equal rights for women and “to create an environment of political, economic, social, and psychological freedom for all members of the human community, so that true peace can be enjoyed by all.”

Early in the 20th century, several events occurred which inspired women to work together to create positive social change. In March 1911, 146 young women locked inside the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City were killed when a fire ravaged the building. It was one of the worst labor disasters in US history. A year later, workers shorted 32 cents from their paychecks started a strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts. For the workers, those pennies meant the difference between being able to eat or not. Within a week, more than 20,000 workers walked out. The Bread and Roses strike brought attention to the working conditions of women and children and fueled a desire for change.

Three years later, a group of women gathered to form WILPF. The Ashland branch of WILPF hosts an annual remembrance of the lives lost in the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

The editors of the Rogue Valley Community Press are pleased to share some of the winning essays with our readers. We honor each powerful young voice as we listen to these future leaders and activists.

Education empowers women and girls, which makes for a better world

By Malaika Boschin

I am a girl who came from Africa, where educating a girl child is regarded as a waste of money and waste of time. Unfortunately, the African culture said that a woman is a commodity to be sold off for a dowry and enrich the sons of the family. Her value is to be married, give birth and remain at home to care for the family.

To educate a daughter is not valued because she was not going to live and help in the family she was born in. A girl is to be married off and move away from home, unlike the son. The son is regarded as an asset in the family and therefore he is given every opportunity and support. The daughter instead must stay home to take care of the farm, fetch water from the river, look for firewood from the bush, and cook for her brethren. With poverty in rural Africa, the son is given the first chance to go to school and the daughter remains home to take care of the household. When the son goes for higher learning, the daughter has to be married off to bring a dowry in terms of cows so that they can sell some cows to educate the son.

Marriage was not based on love but on how many cows the old or young man can offer as a dowry. This makes the woman very miserable. Her job is to give birth to children and care for them including caring for the husband. This makes a woman in rural Africa very poor. Those communities in Africa that do not want to educate a girl child have made women the poorest, most ignorant, and misused in the society. An uneducated woman does not know the value of education and therefore she does not encourage her own children to go to school, and the circle continues.

The uneducated girl does not know her rights. She is misused and treated as men’s property. She works exhaustively without any help from the man. She works until food is on the table then asks the men to come and eat. The men are treated like African kings whose job is to father the children and it is the responsibility of the women to take care of them. Commonly, the men marry several wives in order to avoid responsibility. They are treated as guests when they for example, visit the wife number seven for a day or two. The uneducated wife thinks it is normal for what the husband is doing. She does everything to his satisfaction to make him happy so that he will come back home again.

If a girl is lucky enough to go to school she will not be married because the men fear an educated woman. The educated woman is called names such as prostitute, disobedient, etc. The men know that a woman who is educated will not submit to their mistreatment and therefore they look for ways they can make sure this woman remains unmarried. This is a way to discourage girls’ education. People like Professor Wangare Maathai had a lot of problems with her husband until they had to divorce. Wangare’s husband was a barrier to her success, but with the refusal of being mistreated, this led to her winning a Nobel Peace Prize.

Many women in rural Africa areas go through female genital mutilation. This is one of the worst tortures for a girl child. Right now it is happening in Kenya. When mutilation takes place, the girl walks home with her legs wide apart and even if she is putting up a brave face, inside she is crying silently. This initiation makes the girl child believe that she is now mature and can be married. Unfortunately, when they do this ritual they never go back to school. A man offers a hand in marriage and immediately they come out of hibernation where they are kept to heal without medication, they are married off, and this becomes the end of their education. They start to birth children at an early age, around thirteen years, which becomes a complication on their health.

When women in Africa are encouraged to pursue their education, it makes a big difference. The educated woman knows her rights and stands up for it. The educated woman can get a job and earn a living. The money from her salary can help the family. She also encourages her own children to go to school. A learned woman is informed and contributes highly in the national development. An educated woman is powerful.

As a girl from Africa, I am grateful for the opportunity that exists in this country. I consider myself very lucky to be among the few African girls who are exposed to this kind of educational environment that encourages a girl child or women as a whole to get an education. I am determined to work very hard and make use of this opportunity that is given to a few African girls. I hope that I get financial help to enable me complete my career in medicine so that I can go back and help other girls in Africa. I would like to thank my mother Naomi Kerongo who has tirelessly worked so hard to make it possible for me to move to the United States.

What I would like to do in the future is to be involved in supporting women to achieve their dreams. What I would like to see is a world where women are empowered in society, a world where women are educated, a world where women have equal rights as men. This will make a better world for everybody.

Malaika Boschin is a junior at Ashland High School.

Woman of the world

By Sara Tahvili Shaw

The year is 1981. Zahra Tahvili makes her way to the basement of her high school to find the broken and empty refrigerator she hid in the day before. Zahra makes herself comfortable, shuts the door, takes out her flashlight, and begins to study her science books. Days like this are many, but there is no choice for eighteen­-year­-old Zahra if she wants perfect scores, which cannot be achieved with the revolutionary guards patrolling the only westernized school left in Iran’s capital city. This is a typical day for my mother, a woman who wanted more than her society would allow.

The revolution was over and life for women had changed. No more hairstyles, no more fashion, no more rights. The Islamic regime ruled with a mighty fist, but not even the might of God could stop my mother from pursuing her dream. The oldest of three, she was expected to succeed, even when the government said she could not.

She believed that the key to success was to study and get perfect grades, so she did. She was told to pass the national standardized test, so she took it four times to excel, but what was the payoff? A mailbox full of rejection letters. She was a woman applying to college to become a doctor and that was a concept that seemed unbelievable in her culture. Every school closed the door in her face. There was no hope, she thought. She could never become a doctor solely for the reason that she was a woman.

When she was offered a chance in the United States, it took a year of convincing her father that leaving her home was worth a better life. Once he was convinced, she snuck across the border to Turkey to wait in line for months at the embassy while selling tea and sandals for money in order to obtain a visa. The process came with hardship, but the five years spent in the United States without the opportunity to go home or see her parents was like nothing she had ever been through. It taught her the struggles of an unknown language and loneliness, but those five years also taught her that constant pursuit will result in accomplishment. There is a silver lining for anyone that wants to succeed and she learned this. My mother’s story taught me that whatever it is that I desire the most, I can and will achieve it, because she did.

While I complain about the early hours that school starts every morning, my mother was attending her school by hiding in a refrigerator. To this day, if there is something she wants bad enough, she will never give up to achieve it. There is no better role model I could ask for because nobody has endured the way she has. Discrimination, failure, rejection, and loneliness did not stop her. She came to the United States as an unwanted foreigner to pursue her desire to practice medicine as a woman, an idea that did not exist within her society. Solely because of my mother’s drive and persistence she has attained that goal, succeeded, and prospered. She reminds me that anything can be achieved, because we make our own paths in life, and that is why she is a woman of the world.

Sara Tahvili Shaw is a student at Ashland High School.

Education helps women follow their dreams

By Alexandra Westrick

My great, great grandmother moved her family from Ohio to California so that her daughter could go to the “poor man’s college.” That college, as it turned out, was Stanford, one of if not the richest college in the world. It was unheard of at the time for a woman to go to college, but my great grandmother did it.

She couldn’t really be anything but a teacher, and she could only have a job if she wasn’t married. She studied chemistry at Stanford and became a teacher, but she wanted to get married. More than that, she wanted to work. She put off her marriage for four years so she could work, which she could only do because she had gotten a college education.

She was on the school board, founded a school, started a daycare center for the children of women who were working, and most importantly, stressed the importance of education to her daughter, who wanted to be a doctor. Back then, doctors were only men, so Grandma became a nurse instead. When she got older she volunteered for the Red Cross and at hospitals.

When my mom was in second grade, her teacher asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up. She said that she wanted to be a nurse like her mom. Her teacher said that she should be a doctor. From then on, my mom knew what she wanted to be.

My mom got into Stanford and got her undergraduate degree in biology. Then, she went to Northwestern University and got her medical degree. She became an OB-GYN for high-risk patients. It took three generations to do it, but we finally had a doctor in the family.

My aunt Theresa had her heart set on being an electrical engineer. She tried to take classes related to engineering and electricity, but the classes were only for boys. When she went to junior college in Sacramento, her teacher said that she should be whatever she wanted to be. She was one of only two girls in a class of about fifty people. The teacher stayed after school with them to catch them up because the other students already had two or three years of classes in the subject. Theresa graduated the class with an A and is now a successful electrical engineer in southern California.

When my great grandmother lived, there were pretty much three jobs that women could be: a secretary, a teacher, or a nurse. They paid at best half as much as a man’s job. Now women can be anything they want. We’ve come a long way since then, but we still have a long way to go.

Alexandra Westrick is a sixth grader at Ashland Middle School.

Women’s Day » Women’s Day Speech

Women’s Day Speech

International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8 worldwide, commemorating the political, social and economic achievements of women. Over the decades, the objective of Women’s Day celebration has evolved and embraced culture and ethnicity to emerge as a celebration of appreciation, respect and love towards women. Women’s Day is also celebrated in schools nowadays and also forms an integral part of the curriculum to spread the awareness of women empowerment, their roles and achievements.

One of the most fundamental ways of letting everyone know about the day and its importance in schools, colleges and other places is Women’s Day speeches. Thus here are some speeches on Women’s Day that can be used as a part of projects on International Women’s Day.

1. Empowering Women!
“Good morning to all the Excellencies and my friends, as we all gathered here to celebrate this event, I would like to speech on the topic of women empowerment in India. Empowering women in India is very necessary to bring gender equality or we can say that gender equality is very necessary to empower women.Gender equality is the first step to bring women empowerment in India. Men should not understand that women are made only to handle household chores or take responsibility of home and family. Instead, both (men and women) are responsible for everything of daily routine. Men too need to understand their responsibility of home and family and all other works women do so that women can get some time to think about themselves and their career. Women should also identify their strengths and abilities, and move towards a world of empowerment. On the event of Women’s Day, let us all promise to create a better world to live in. Thank you.”

2. Saluting Her Contribution to the Society!!
“First of all I would like to say good morning to all my teachers and friends. I would like to say thank to my class teacher to give me this opportunity to speech in front of you at this great occasion of International Women’s Day. On this day, huge sentiments are expressed about the power of women and many proverbs and poems directed towards women. It is really nice to have a special day for women where they are glorified to a point of being honored, awarded, and appreciated. Then why is that after so much awareness and acknowledgement of a woman’s contribution to life ,society, family and work; saluting her strength, resilience, sacrifice she still is considered only second to men and treated like a second rate citizen ? This is because for generations, it has been ingrained among women that they are not capable of doing most things. Women empowerment lies in honoring yourself and treating yourself with respect. “No one can put you down without your permission,” Eleanor Roosevelt. Thank you.”

3. Women’s Day: Building the World a better Place To Live!
“International Women’s Day is celebrated every year on March 8, recognizing and appreciating women’s political, economic and social achievements over the decades. Woman’s Day was first observed in 1909 in the United States and it is only in 1977 that the United Nations officially declared International Women’s Day celebration on March 8. An event which started as a political affair has evolved over the years and is now celebrated by gifting flowers, greeting cards and gifts to women in most regions. International Women’s Day is also an official holiday in several countries like Belarus, Armenia, Albania, Brazil, and Cameroon. On this occasion, we should endeavor building a better world where men and women live harmoniously, free of violence and discrimination.”

4. Women a Full Circle!!
A heart-warming Good morning to everybody present here, here we have all gathered to celebrate women’s day and to celebrate the achievement of women and the strength to fight with whatever comes in her way. Over the years the essence of women’s day celebration has evolved and has taken up an all together novel form. A woman in herself is a full circle and complete within herself she has inside her the potency to fight for whatever is right! Her strength, I would like to illustrate her statement with an anecdote.
There was a warm egg in the nest of an eagle which was about to hatch, and then a farmer who lived nearby took out the egg and kept it with his hen’s eggs which were also about to hatch. After quite some time the gets hatched and they started following their mother and tried as much as to be the way their mother was. The point here to note is that that the baby eagle never knew that it was from eagle family. Though their mother had realised the eagle’s different behaviour but she never acknowledged it. One day the baby eagle saw an eagle flying powerfully high into the sky and it was amazed at the strength she was possessing and wished to be an eagle in the next birth so as to have such unwavering strength. The baby eagle never realised its strength for it always believed that it belonged to the hen’s family. The, gist of the story says that we women are the baby eagles born to an eagle’s family not knowing that we possess the same strength as that of the eagle’s family.
Stop believing women, Start living; Living your life on your terms, it’s high time!!

5. A Woman Can Help Her Fellow Woman!
Good morning everyone!! Today I am privileged to have got the chance to speak on such an important topic. It’s women’s day and it is the time not only to teach the male to be encouraging enough to help women come out of all the hell they are going through. It’s a fact that women are equally responsible for all that a woman has to face. This fact can be illustrated by the fact that it is women who is responsible for the diminishing strength of the other women, be it the home or the work place. Have you ever though why the lobster which are caught always lies together; the reason being the other lobsters does not let any of them to come out.

Same is the case with we women, there are women who with their thinking do not let the other women come out from the stereotypes and taboos so, an inclusive, transformation in the way of our thinking is important! Women too need to learn to respect their fellow women and encourage in whatever dream they have for themselves.
The more we show and use the strength of our courage the more it will get beautified!! Gather the strength to shatter those who play with rest.

6. Unite to Fight: The Cause of Women Empowerment!
Hello everyone, I am feeling obliged to have got an opportunity to speak on this auspicious and encouraging day of the year. The first lesson that all of us learn start only at home and the rest follows with the kind of attitude we have got instilled in us. Inclusive support if we say, that includes each one of us including the men. We together can start with the empowerment right at home, you don’t need to learn a lesson for it. For instance we can encourage the ladies at our home, our mother, sisters, and wives to pursue their dreams and excel in their career. A wholehearted support, be it however trivial, will boost their self confidence and will have a transforming impact on the women’ way of life. They can only come out of the pathetic situations that we humans have created.
Let’s fight it together!! Together we will over any big problem!!

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