Thank you all for being here for this important moment. Today is truly a good day and to the men, that got me here and decided to give me a platform to speak. Thank you for making the choice to make gender equality a priority in Africa.
When I was nine, I was told I was selfish because I refused to let a boy copy my answers. If he was smarter why couldn’t he think of his own answers? At twelve I signed up for the girl’s soccer club because I wanted to one day be the captain of Dynamos Football Club and my best friend didn’t because girls joined clubs such as Knitting. At 18, my boyfriend told me I wasn’t girly enough because I watched football religiously. When I turned 19 someones called me an angry woman for deciding I wanted to go to university and study computers. In his mind, women were nurses, teachers, and housewives.
Why is Africa still of the notion that women belong in the kitchen? Aren’t we tired of the endless narratives of child brides? Why isn’t there a single headline of child grooms if early marriages are a problem in Africa? Why are we not shocked when we hear a woman has been raped/beaten? If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop. Gender inequality must stop, and do this, we need everyone involved. We don’t need the women to stand up and speak up, we need the men and boys to stand up and be advocates of change.
I am a university graduate and a job seeker in a world where someone dares ask you “You are not married?”. Does being married guarantee I will do a better job? Be a little smarter? And is it fair that I will get paid less than if a man was doing my job? There is no degree that says graduate in the female department with a degree in law. A law degree is a law degree regardless of gender. Time’s up on women getting peanuts while men get a full course meal with dessert.
It’s time that equal pay, opportunities and mental health of women be made a right and not a privilege. We have talked enough and cried enough, Africa needs tangible results. Ladies and gentlemen of the AU, the time for change is now. If you believe in equality, you might be like me. I invite you to stand up for what is right, ask yourself, “If I don’t make a difference who will?”
Thank you very, very much.