The WFWP Speech Contest for young women FINAL took place at Lancaster Gate on Saturday 7th November 2015. This event was initiated this year as one of WFWP educational projects for young women from all
backgrounds and cultures to express their beliefs and values to the public as those who wish to play an active part in their community. Having applied for the Contest initially with 1500-word compositions and went through the telephone interviews, 4 contestants made it through to the Finals.
Salima, a lawyer from Central London, is a mother of 2 young daughters. Being in her 30s she was the eldest contestant. She would like to be a role model for them, as her mother and grandmother were for her.
Rina Kanawa, aged 21, is a student from Japan studying Education at Leeds University. She said that Japan is still behind other nations in terms of recognizing women leaders or allowing women to have equality in the workplace. It is only recently that the Japanese Government has recognised the value of the female work force. Often women are asked to leave if they decide to marry or become pregnant. Rina feels strongly that there should be a much more flexible attitude to women, who are often excellent in their field of work.
Afroz Machant from Birmingham, aged 22 is part of the more open spectrum of the Muslim community. She feels strongly that a balance is needed – women should not neglect their role as homemakers and mothers, but should try to also take a leading role in public. Women have maternal instincts and naturally will take care of people more. We should strive not only for women’s rights, but for the rights of all humanity.
Tanya Selle at age of 24, is recently married and hopes to create an ideal family. She made the comparison between our lives as women and being a ballet dancer (She herself took ballet lessons for several years). For her “femininity” is like ballet, it appears graceful, but requires stamina and discipline. Women can be centre stage in creating a peaceful world. She suggested 4 points to own our femininity, 1) Be clear who we are, 2) Hone our skills, 3) Bring gifts to society, 4) Nurture relationships.
We then had a 30-minutes break for refreshments, while the 3 judges had the very difficult task of deciding who would be the winner. The 3 judges were Mr Tim Miller(Chief Judge), Rev Kim Plumpton (a lady pastor) and Ms Brenda Hodgson. Finally Afroze was chosen due to her very balanced viewpoint and articulate speech, and she received a certificate and cheque for £500. It was a very close and exciting competition and all of the audience, mostly young people themselves were very uplifted and inspired. Some hope to participate as contestants themselves in next year’s event. We all felt very encouraged by meeting and listening to such inspirational young women.