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Power of the Law

Power of the Law
There is no doubt that poverty is the state for the majority of the world’s people but I am tempted to ask whether it is enough to blame poor people for their own quandary? Have they been lazy, made poor decisions, and been solely responsible for their plight? What about their governments? Have they pursued policies that are actually harmful to the livelihoods of their citizens? I believe the causes of poverty and inequality are no doubt real and interconnected on many levels but deeper and more global causes of poverty are our own inactions and silences often disguised in the rhetoric of “leave it to the experts”.

From a young age, I knew that I wanted to become a lawyer. However, learning from a younger age that the problems in this world can only be solved by the “experts” reinforced my rational that unless I became an expert i.e. a lawyer I could not do much. Nevertheless, when a young female lawyer told me that “the law is a tool and a barrier”, she challenged me to think differently about my prospective law degree. Also I began to learn that defining my expertise on my own terms was an act of power and a force that will drive me to act when others said I could not. Though, I did not want to be implicated in a system that constantly disadvantaged people, I wanted to gain entry into this exclusive field of male dominance. I am still suspicious about being in the core of government circles or perhaps having a close relation to the state through my profession as a lawyer. Yet, I recognized that to address the issues of gender inequality and to restructure and reform laws concerning women and children I have to strive for social reform or the tumbling of the status quo. Also, I know that ensuring that women’s place and role in society is clearly protected and defined under the law, requires an uncommon dedication.

I strongly accept that to be well prepared for this task, I need to equip myself or work towards attaining “the power over” my current obstacles in order to gain “the power to”.... Being a part of Voices of the Future would help me continue with this commitment. Being of female gender means that the way I act is included in a process of power relations. For example, if the male is the norm, then the female is subordinate. I strongly believe that there needs to be a re-conceptualization of power and the need to view gender as a relational and procedural process of defining women as subjects, as speakers and as actors rather than passive victims. I can boldly affirm that this is what Voices of the Future has started to work towards, hence how could I not want to be a part of this? Female empowerment to me is about having the strength and possibility to influence one’s own life and having the capacity to reach goals set for others’ development. I know that women are not entirely deprived of the right to act because women have always redefined the idea of power as a fight, constantly acting however small or big.

However, this does not mean that options and opportunities for power execution are always available in different countries or situations. I believe options and opportunities in addition to an individual actor’s willingness are closely related to achieving change and influence. So choosing to be a part of Voices of the Future program and having the opportunity to learn speaks to the possibility that, men do not have more power than women but with more opportunities women as a group can immensely effect change in this world. I consider mentorship, the sharing of female knowledge and building of support networks as crucial steps to creating possibilities and innovative change. It is my dream to live in a world in which freedom and peace, equality and security are innate rights that every one especially women enjoy. I dream of a world where every child will have the opportunity to have a good education and never remember the metallic taste of hunger and poverty.

Comments

Adepeju's picture

Gender equality ans female

Gender equality ans female empowerment are to big issues that can change the role and status of women the world round. When these issues are looked at from the legal perspective, it often means tighter protection for the benefit of the women. Good work sis!

MaDube's picture

I couldn't agree more with

I couldn't agree more with this statement "I strongly believe that there needs to be a re-conceptualization of power and the need to view gender as a relational and procedural process of defining women as subjects, as speakers and as actors rather than passive victims. I can boldly affirm that this is what Voices of the Future has started to work towards, hence how could I not want to be a part of this?" Well said sister.

gittlemana's picture

powerful stuff

Thanks so much for your post. I'm a lawyer and I became one because I see the law as a force for social change, but I also agree that the law is used far too often to maintain existing power structures and to reinforce the status quo. I think that with more engaged young women in the field we can make more significant progress. I'm glad to hear your take on these issues - I think about them often myself!
Andrea

Alicia_Marie's picture

I really enjoyed reading your

I really enjoyed reading your post, in the sense, I could understand how you feel you have emerged from being a passive woman, to one who sees opportunity and takes chances to achieve new goals regardlless of existing power structures and societal pressures of how you are to act. Seeing as how you were able to make that transition all on your own strength, I am sure a mentorship program would provide you with much more social support to realize even further the impact you can have in the area you have forced yourself to excel to have a part of, or have a voice in. I wish you the best of luck on accomplishing all the goals you may have!
Alicia

Hannah B's picture

Thank you

Thank you for sharing your ideas and experiences with everyone!
I hope that you continue to pursue your work, and that you find hope, support, and ideas in this forum.

Best of luck to you!!

Hannah

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