I think I was born a feminist, born an activist – born caring about the poor. From a very young age I always asked why I had to help in the kitchen but none of my male cousins / friends had to or why others were homeless yet we weren’t. As a young woman whose only talent seemed to be intelligence, it is these passions that I chose to turn to for direction. Hence pursuing a career in international relations (very broad I know, I’m still trying to figure out the specifics).
When people ask me what I am passionate about it always leaves me dumbstruck – I am passionate about a lot of things. To put it simply, I am passionate about equality of opportunity. Everyone should have equal access to every opportunity in the world and I stand solidly by that belief. Equity & equality > grabbing oneself by the bootstraps – I am obviously not a Tory. I believe that every individual ought to have the opportunity to live the life they wish to without any barriers standing in their way. For example, everyone should have equal access to education & the best universities, which and – against all stats – I managed to secure a place at the University of Oxford to study my MSc after securing a first class honours undergraduate degree & working in the corporate and political world for over a year.
I’m excited about being at Oxford for several reasons; the career prospects post-Oxford are fantastic to say the least, networking opportunities and of course the pride of being able to call myself an Oxonian once I graduate – in Jesus name! But the main reason for my excitement is the chance to further strengthen my intelligence and knowledge which is the talent I feel God gave to me.
Being smart is great and makes life easier in some ways but it can also be a huge burden when you aren’t quite sure how to pursue your intelligence in the most fulfilling and beneficial way for yourself and your environment. This is made even more difficult when you aren’t the stereotypical ‘smart girl’. Yes I like to read, I’m obsessed with politics and I enjoy a good debate but I also love to turn up, dress – according to my aunties – ‘provocatively’. I also have very strong feminist views that have helped make me a woman who takes up her space no matter her surroundings.
I’ve recently decided to stop fussing about the fact that I don’t fit into any stereotype because none of us do! Life is not black and white and neither are we. I am excited to paint the world with my rainbow. I have decided to grab everything that is meant for me.
By Rebecca Mtsambiwa, an Oxford University student, pursuing her passion for equality and breaking down barriers one stereotype at a time.