Now that Rosa has joined Champion of Change in Colombia, she’s seeing male and female relationships in a very different light. Here she explains why it’s so important for girls and young women to stand up for their rights and make their voices heard.
In my community, people rarely listen to what young girls think. Some men have the type of ego that makes them think they have power over women, that they can mistreat them — either psychologically or physically. Most of the men in my community treat women well, but there is always some guy who wants to mistreat a woman.
There was a man who wouldn’t let his wife work, for example. He wanted her to stay at home, because he felt her duty was to do all the household chores. Not to go out and work, because that was a man’s job. Although I used to think differently from how I do now about relationships, I have never agreed with that type of attitude.
I’ve learned how to take care of and protect myself, how to take control of my life and how to help others that maybe still don’t know how to do that. There are a lot of girls here who think that becoming a mother very young is a good idea. Often, they think that the best way to keep their boyfriend is to get pregnant. It is possible to change their minds though, because it used to be much worse than it is now.
Men have less of that chauvinist ego now — and that’s partly because women are becoming more powerful. In my view, it is very important for women to support other women. If we do this, we will have one voice, and we will be visible in the fight for our rights. Standing together shows that women can have authority, and it demonstrates that it’s not just men who can wield power.
We, as girls and women have our own thoughts, can make decisions and can do the same things that men do. We are not objects, but human beings just like them. It is inspiring when groups of women come together to fight for a cause because in those situations, you can see the strength and the fight that women have.
And the more their voices get heard, the more power and the more force women will have.