Mariam the Activist
This is Mariam. She is a 17-year old activist (one who is active in bringing positive change) who I met today at a panel discussion on gender equality. When Mariam was 13 years old she decided that she wanted to do something about the unequal treatment of girls in her community. Outside of the capital city (and even inside for many families), a girl is expected to work hard in school so that they can get an education which will help them marry an educated man who can take care of her. Most Georgians see a girl’s primary role to be one of an obedient wife who cooks, cleans and takes good care of the children. This leads to many different types of unequal treatment of women, ranging from a large difference in salary to domestic violence against women.
Instead of simply not liking the situation. Mariam decided to do something about it. In the last four years she has recruited help from her fellow students to raise awareness about the issue. She works with women’s rights groups to conduct workshops in many different parts of Georgia. She writes articles published by various groups. Last year, she started a “Young Feminists” group that works in five regions throughout the country. When I asked her why she decided to do this, she said, “Who else was going to do this? If not me, who would do it?”
Great question Mariam. One that we all need to ask ourselves more often. And thank you for proving that it’s a question not only for adults, but even for 13-year olds.
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Stephen Blan teaches US History at Fort Worth Country Day in Fort Worth, TX and is a 2015 Teachers for Global Classrooms Fellow.