There is nothing more powerful than the ability to empower others. There is nothing more rewarding than to empower your fellow woman. As a young, African American female I witness how women are objectified in music videos and commonly devalued in social media and on television to nothing more than figures of pleasure and inferiority. I remember attending an international NGO United Nations forum in the spring of 2014. Due to the fact that it was an all-female missionary seminar, I went with the women of my church, Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church.
The seminar was about empowering and encouraging women to overcome financial hardship and oppression. A female missionary from Macedonia AME Church gave a speech about how women in developing countries are being forced into arranged marriages before they reach the age of eighteen. Although the causes of early and forced marriage are dependent on individual circumstances, the main causes are: gender inequality, poverty, negative religious practices, the government’s failure to enforce human rights laws, and natural disasters.
The missionary spoke about the goals of Christian global initiatives to eradicate all of the hardships that women face in impoverished countries, such as rape, hunger, a lack of education, poor medical care, and early and forced marriages (EFM). The Macedonia AME Missionary encouraged us church missionaries to empower our fellow women as Sisters in Christ. If I had to choose between sitting in an office all day and travelling the world and empowering the millions of young girls who are victims of EFM, I would most definitely choose to spread awareness of the negative effects of EFM and how young girls can escape the emotional and physical pain that is directly caused by EFM.
I would first go to the Middle East, where early and forced marriages are most prevalent. I would stand on a podium, pass out flyers, and do whatever it takes to spread awareness and provide alternatives from this terrible practice that deprives young girls from their childhoods and leaves them with a low self-esteem and a lack of self-identity. At the NGO forum, the missionary stated that by the year 2030, early and forced marriages would be eradicated. My goal is for EFM to end NOW!