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Dear Michelle,

I hope that my letter meet you in good condition and that you have a peaceful time. The issue of women is not a matter of kick and go, though it is a matter of urgency but we need collective wisdom, therefore, I will advise that, first and foremost you should review letters of women worldwide and they pas through different experiences and they also know the best way to solve their problems, only that they are not heard and their opinions are not recognized nor respected, therefore we keep our mouths shut as expected.

With painful heart do I reiterate what you have read or see, a woman is a human being that is a second class citizens in our countries, if she survives female selected infanticide in India, she may not survive in Thailand where it is an acceptable practice, in case she survives in Thailand, and return to India, she may not survive rice shaft stuffing whereby handful of shaft of rice is stuffed into her throat, in case that is not done and she manages to reach the age of ten, she would be happily sold into the sex industry. The women in the developed world are not spared from sexual assault or slaps from their husbands too.

a girl that survives this ordeal in India, may not survive in Pakistan or Nepal, there are several instances when these girls are kept in brothels with snakes until they are overcome with terror and succumb to the strength of their captors. Ma, can you imagine the betrayal of a girl watching her parents sell her into slavery? The highest form of betrayal is to see a child wave good bye to her mother, who had earlier told her that this new uncle is going to register her in a new school in Bombay but to later woke up in a hotel, do not forget that the law enforcement agents are aware and are a part of this act. It happens in Africa too, no girl child is safe from sexual assult.

The girls who survived early marriages in Northern Nigeria do not survive Vesico Vagina Fistula. Yet, the physical pain is incomparable to the pain of rejection by the so called husband, who is old enough to be her grandfather, and can you just imagine the unending sadness when her parents also felt that she let them down by allowing VVF! thereby casting her away? Have you heard that heads of cow are more important than heads of girls? Female Genital Mutilation is painful, I experienced it too, but can you compare it to the pain of being accused of allowing a man to rape me?

Dear Michelle, do you know that without three witnesses, a rape case is closed in Northern Nigeria? How about our leaders who are married to children? Do you hear that one of our Senators married a thirteen year old Egyptian girl last year? How about the leader that has divorced seventeen times in Nigeria, just because Islam expected the husband that is fed up with his wife to say, I divorce you, I divorce you, I divorce you...just three times and that is the end of the marriage, but a woman can say that as many times as she wants, it may be that she is singing. Do you see the way religion is used to perpetuate gender inequality?

Gender equality is a sin in our countries, if a woman says she is equal to her husband, it means she is a sinner. A woman cannot be equal to a man, because the Bible and Quran say the husband is the head of his wife. Therefore, a girl child is the daughter of her brother. The effects of inequality affect our psyche and we feel so worthless, we cannot even equate two girls to a boy! since it is better to have a boy than five girls.

If there are no demands there will be no supplies. Presently, there are five thousand Nigeria girls who are forcefully sold to slavery in Mali, there are more than that number in Italy and Spain, they are worthless girls, that is what they say, it has no effect on our leaders. What do you do with a girl? You are in this position because of us, inequality has robbed us of opportunities.

Unequal opportunities has sustained preference for boys and this is perpetrated by our leaders too. I was opportune to follow the ruling parties primaries for Nigeria 2011 elections, hardly will you see a woman that bribes, maim and kill because of leadership positions. The only woman contestant for the presidential primaries was Sarah Jubril Kuye, she got 1 vote from the more than 3000 votes shared will be equality in our nations, when there is equal ratio of women and men in our parliaments, equal ratio of girls and boys in our schools, equal ratio of raped boys and girls, equal ratio of early child marriages for boys and girls, equal ratio of boys and girls sold to sexual slavery, equal ratio of boys and girls infanticide, equal ratio of school drop outs, expulsion of affected boy and girl when a girl child is impregnated by her school mate or teacher. If these are impossible, then we should end these vices and create a peaceful world for all.

The highest form of human inequality to human is Gender discrimination. The evil of culture and societal norm is further entrenched by our leadership even in the developed world too, The United States of America, our ole model has refused to enact CEDAW, how do we then expect Nauru Island to enact it, why are we complaining about Iraq? And in a broader perspective, do you know that a woman's productive and reproductive roles are not reflected in country"s GDP? We must start somewhere although it is Herculean''s task, because If we leave this fight now, we shall come back to fight later.

My mother was denied access to her father's proper because a woman has no inheritance rights, she was denied access to my father's property because she could only birth daughters, my father died in 1976, when I was barely 4 years old, my mother trained us to high school level, though she was a farmer. I have two unrecognized daughters now. My mother warned me when I was getting married that my daughters and my work are my properties, when I entered into the marriage, I realized how unrecognized I am, I have never been allowed into the family meeting and I have been married for ten years. It means that in my father's house, husband's house and in the larger society too.

Should I warn my daughters now or are there women out there who would want to exchange their sons for my daughters? My womb can only carry daughters, you will not believe how sweet my daughters her, I can speak with them with my eyes and they will understand, I can turn my nose, they know what it means, I just cannot trade them for any boys again, but my parents in law believed that I have given birth to myself alone. I am not alone in this struggle. Please you are our voice, let your voice resonate Dear Michelle.

Thank you so much for listening to women and for fighting this far.

Yours in solidarity,

As the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women officially begins its work this month, World Pulse is asking women worldwide: What is YOUR vision and recommendation for UN Women? We invite you to raise your voice by writing a letter to UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet outlining your recommendation for how this new UN agency can truly affect change on the ground to promote gender equality and uphold the rights and needs of women both on a local and global scale.
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jap21's picture

Hi Olutosin

Awww! Your voice is soooo powerful. It makes me get goosebumps! I think this will be the one letter that Michelle takes with her all around the world to read, as it is urgent, true and heartbreaking.

I love you dear sister, and through you, I love all the women in Africa and Asia who suffer from this type of inequality. One more time, but never enough, I will encourage you to tell the sisters to learn how to render these behaviors as UNACCEPTABLE, once and for all.

The truth always finds its way my dear. Keep fighting. Never give up.



Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva
Tarija - Bolivia
South America

jadefrank's picture

An end to violence against women

Dearest Olutosin,

Thank you for participating in this campaign, by using your voice and speaking out for women who have been abused, and calling for an end to violence against women as a priority for the new UN Women agency. As Jackie says, your voice is so powerful and will continue to ring from India to Zimbabwe, as you call for equality for sisters worldwide. Your words grip my soul and shake my being with truth, power and urgency.

In two weeks, we will compile your letters and share your voices with the GEAR Campaign, who have been working closely with UN Women to ensure the inclusion of civil society groups, and through the PulseWire community, grassroots women leaders, as they set their agenda. We will also be sending your letters directly to Michele Bachelet and other senior leaders of the newly formed UN agency, to demonstrate the effectiveness for sourcing opinion, knowledge and needs from the global grassroots women's movement through our online community. Through this, we hope to open a portal for our community to have a direct line of influence within the UN Women agency.

I will keep you updated on the progress of our campaign!


olutosin's picture

Thanks Jade

This is a beautiful idea, We are busy in the village, I will keep up with you about the ongoing program. God Bless you for what you are doing........

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town


Shristi Bajracharya's picture

helo olutosin

Your letter was quite a read. It definitely gave me some rebellious goosebumps. I see that you say the truth through your own harsh experiences. Although I personally do not recall any such nightmarish experiences in my life so far (thank god!) other than those of a different issue, you can count me in those millions who have heard your voice and have decided to keep an open mind and fight against the gender inequality.
I speak on behalf of my country "Nepal".
I live in the capital of my country "Kathmandu" and have just recently joined an architecture firm. I finished my bachelors degree in architecture just recently and can understand the issues such as unemployments, lack of opportunities just to name a few. You can count me as one of the lucky ones among a very low percentage of girls who have gotten the best education there is in our country.
The inequality of gender still persists in our so called "progressive society" although many of us have become more n more aware of this issue. Sometimes, topics such as this come up in our conversation in my workplace and I hear about the gender preferences in many households still persistant. Its a fact that education must be given, awareness must prevail in these rural areas where it is needed the most. But the society which thinks modern still need to understand this issue fully. In other words, those who know better need to teach those who don't.
You have a strong Voice and very determined!! I hope you will succeed in your goals and we will see a difference in our coming years.

Warm wishes,
Shristi Bajracharya

olutosin's picture


I appreciate you Dearest Shriti. May God help us in this struggle.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town


aimeeknight's picture

Dear Olutosin, I am moved to

Dear Olutosin, I am moved to tears. I am so proud to know you! So eloquently, you are a voice for women, children and all of humanity the world over. I know your voice will be heard, thank you so much for your letter.

"One shoe can change a life" ~ Cinderella

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