International Women's Day 2020: Thoughts and Ambitions

This Sunday is International Women’s Day 2020. Here at the University of Westminster, we want to pay tribute to our many diverse and talented female international students. We asked 2 of our fantastic female international bloggers Grace and Dalma share their thoughts and ambitions on being a woman in 2020. Both Draw upon their personal experiences of bravely moving to study in London to fulfill their personal and professional dreams.

“Thanks to the incredible women that have fought for our rights and equality throughout history

Today in 2020 women are being treated as equal as ever with our voice being heard louder and clearer each day. However, this does not mean sexism has been abolished and there is complete gender equality across the globe. As a female minority growing up in western countries I have experienced many if not most hardships that girls and women have to endure (at least in developed countries) to keep our heads above the ground.

International Women's Day 2020: Thoughts and Ambitions_International Women's Day 2020: Thoughts and Ambitions_International Student BlogHere are the lessons that I have learned from my experiences. I hope they can apply to many other girls and women who have experienced gender inequality.

1. You are incredibly unique and special no matter what anyone tells you

Even if those that are close to you don’t believe in you, never lose respect for yourself. We mustn’t let others define who we are. Because very few people in our lives will be privileged enough to truly value and appreciate us for who we are. Us women are too talented, creative, and precious for others to let us down and strip us of our confidence.

2. Women are still experiencing sexism and inequalities in many many aspects

But this doesn’t mean that all men (and sadly sometimes other women) are sexists. Throughout my time here at the University of Westminster, I have been lucky enough to work with and meet many amazing men who have shown nothing but respect and honor to myself and other female students and colleagues. This may not always be the case outside of our university but remember there are men who value us just as equally as they do other men. So don’t lose hope even if you have experienced nasty men who didn’t treat you the way you deserve!

3. Don’t blame and exclude men from conversations and discussions involving feminism

Believe it or not, many men want to be included in these discussions. To understand how we feel and to learn how they can change and help our voices be heard. I feel the feminist movement can sometimes make men feel excluded and guilty by not allowing them to participate in meetings or join in groups just for being a man. I think this defeats the purpose of gender equality and can be on the borderline of actually being sexist. Unless men are included in the discussion about feminism and gender equality, I believe it will be difficult for both genders to truly understand each other. So why not celebrate feminism and gender equality with both women and men?

4. Surround yourself with other women that empower you and try to be the one to empower other women

There’s nothing quite like having an amazing support system from a great group of female friends. Friends who are always supporting and helping each other along the way, whatever hardships you may be experiencing. And I don’t mean having a group of friends to gossip about other people whether about men or women. It’s about having an empowering group of honest and generous women who will listen to you, give you the confidence, support, and honest feedback we all deserve. Already have an amazing group of friends? Then why not take it to the next level and help? Empower other women around you that may quietly be battling her own struggles with no one to talk to? The simple act of genuinely asking someone how they are can lead to such amazing conversations with people you may have never connected with otherwise. True acts of kindness can go a long way. I’m not saying this because I think I am a mega kind and generous person, but because I have been lucky enough to have had the love and support from women who have shown nothing but kindness and encouragement towards me. So the only thing I can do is honor them. To try every day to be that person for another woman who may be struggling. 

So whether you are a female student from the UK or from another country, always remember to keep your chin up high and don’t ever let anyone discourage you just for being a woman. Instead, feel sorry for them that cannot see the beauty in you. Because we are all too unique and precious to live our lives without truly loving and respecting ourselves just for being a woman.” (Grace)

International Women's Day 2020: Thoughts and Ambitions
#IWD2020 #eachforequal

“Being independent and strong depends on a lot of things, especially if you are a woman

The environment, the people around you, the feedback.

Everybody is interested in what you are doing and they always have an opinion. That’s when I learnt that I don’t have to be perfect, I just have to be myself. For me, the first step was moving to London. I knew that this city will give me the freedom to be myself and have my own opinion. And that’s how it is now, I am a completely new person with opinions and goals. The main thing that helped me is that everybody is supportive and accepts who I am. Moving taught me to step up and stand up for myself because this is the now real world.

One of the main reasons why I chose to study Marketing Management was because this industry is mainly lead by men. I want to change that. Studying at Westminster and in London gives me the best opportunity to make and BE the change.” (Dalma)

International Women's Day 2020: Thoughts and Ambitions_International Student Blog
#IWD2020 #eachforequal

With Sunday’s upcoming International Women’s Day 2020 we’re proud to have so many incredible female students and teachers at the University of Westminster. We hope some of you will join us here in London to make your own history and reach your ambitions! If you’re interested to know more about other successful female students and lecturers at Westminster, click the links below:

Dr Souad Mohamed awarded funding for two-year project in collaboration with UN Women

Chantel Gautier, Senior Lecturer on the Psychology and Counselling BSc Honours course, takes part in panel for Modern Woman Business Series

Dr Kathryn Waddington takes part in panel for Modern Woman Business Series

For more insights from international students studying at the University of Westminster and living in the heart of London, please visit International Student Blogs.

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