Here in Madagascar, many people believe that women are not made for education, and certainly not for science.
I have to admit there were times, sitting in the classroom and listening to my mathematics teacher when I also had my doubts. Where in my life am I ever going to use “E = mc2”, I wondered?
Even my family assumed that my ability to talk to and inspire others would lead me to be a pastor rather than a scientist.
But the conventions of society were incorrect, and I was determined to put in the effort and study hard.
I first began by taking online courses. That led to certificates, which then led to work as a web developer. Eventually, I even ended up representing my country at an international robotics contest. I realized that change is not made by society’s beliefs, it is shaped by my own determination and hard work and the ability to overcome failure.
Some people may try to slow or prevent a woman from achieving her dreams, but it’s not for us to try and change their views. To overcome obstacles, we must first believe in ourselves.
Too often, our harshest critic is ourselves.
“When you start to believe in yourself, people will believe in you,” states Daniel Ally, an entrepreneur and author.
See, there are 7 billion people in the world. Some will be on your side, some may not. But at the end of the day, you will be the one to make a decision.
The challenge is to keep moving towards your goal, despite how failures and setbacks. Every step you take in your life can be a model for others.
Remember, do not limit yourself, you are obviously more than what others think of you, but you are also more than who you think you are.
Landy Tiana RAKOTOARISON, 18, inspired her peers during the TEDxYouth-Antananarivo "Ampela Unstoppable" which was supported by UNICEF and UNFPA on the International Day of the Girl 2019. 'Ampela' means 'Women' in Malagasy