Choose and describe a topic (issue) of personal, social (national), or international interest, and explain its significance
As a woman who was born and raised in Vietnam, a country with conventional rigid gender notions of men's and women's values and roles, I've long been worried about the issue of gender discrimination.
I've always admired my mother, a successful, strong, and independent entrepreneur who manages two businesses while still caring for her children. As I grew older, though, I began to experience the realities of gender discrimination. I noticed that no one saw her efforts during family gatherings, even though my mother is the family's breadwinner. Instead, they seem to be concerned with how much time she spends at home caring for us and even discourage her from going to work, whereas they would do the exact opposite with my father. Furthermore, my relatives and even my mother would continually educate me that a woman does not need to study too hard. Girls are taught to be polite, gentle, and find a wonderful husband to rely on since, after all, we women are the primary parent, emotional nurturers, and housekeepers. "Why does Mom never fight back when she is mistreated, and worse, she instills those ideas in me and expects me to follow those outdated customs?" This question keeps springing into my brain.
Since then, I have started to research more about this matter. Gender inequality is prevalent in Vietnamese culture, literature, and education and has slowly crept into the consciousness of the Vietnamese people. For example, traditionally, feminine duties have focused on family responsibilities, which Vietnamese people accept as natural and do not need to change. I understand that these culturally enforced gender stereotypes continue to be barriers to women attaining financial rewards and prestige in the workplace. Despite their high labor force participation rate, Vietnamese women have the lowest female-to-male ratio in senior management, with one woman for every eight males, according to a 2017 Financial Times poll. Furthermore, salary inequalities between men and women doing the same job still exist. Women have fewer possibilities to enter high-paying occupations, and women are more susceptible when firms need to lay off workers.
This inequality has motivated me, as a young girl, to do something to outgrow political views on equality, entitlement, and individual rights because I know there are thousands of other women out there, just like me, who want equal access to the same opportunities as men, such as education, work experience, and recognition. To move ahead from the nostalgic past shown here, I must start with education, since only by being well-informed, having access to new possibilities, and being educated can people grasp the problem and eventually alter the situation.
Hence, I put all of my efforts into learning and acquiring higher education. When I got into Hanoi-Amsterdam High school for the Gifted - one of Vietnam's most prestigious high schools, I chose to pursue Social science. Such a wise decision allowed me to understand the fundamental cause of this problem by providing me with insights into the worldwide social, economic and political situation. Nonetheless, even in Natural science disciplines, which are typically associated with boys, I give it my all since it helps me improve my logical and critical thinking abilities. My scores in both majors have been astonishingly high, and my overall results are at the top of my class, demonstrating that girls can successfully perform any subject just as well as guys.
During my high school years, I had the honor of serving as the Head Organizer for Camp Blast, a children's summer camp. Throughout the camp, I organized many activities to assist the kids in extending their social, cultural, and environmental understanding. What sets the camp apart is that we focus on providing children with equal opportunity to participate in various activities and acquire a variety of skills, regardless of the gender with which they are often associated. Little girls were able to try subjects that they would not have been able to do otherwise due to their masculinity, such as science projects and sports like football. At the same time, this gives young boys the chance to learn about and be open-minded about subjects that they would dismiss as "girly," such as fashion design or baking. Many young girls were motivated by my story to follow their ambitions in the same manner boldly.
Together with the issue at hand, this encounter has inspired me to pursue a career as a feminist entrepreneur. I want to be a successful leader/businesswoman to help girls and women achieve economic self-sufficiency and equitable outcomes. Feminist entrepreneurs use the power of enterprise and feminist insight to model powerful new ideas that will eventually lead to fundamental changes in our communities and economy. I'm motivated to establish a firm that gives meaningful and impactful values, expertise, and insights to women, based on my education and experience. At the same time, I want my business to provide the basis for a healthy, motivated, and innovative environment where women are encouraged to follow their ambitions.
I recognize that becoming a businesswoman will not dramatically alter the situation. However, I believe it will serve as a tremendous motivation and will have an influence on society, significant or minor, and will affect it in some way because "If you believe in your idea of change and are willing to work hard, sooner or later that dream will be a reality." - Naomi Tulay Solanke.