“Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong… It is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum not as two opposing sets of ideals…. If we stop defining each other by what we are not and start defining ourselves by what we are—we can all be freer and this is what HeForShe is about. It’s about freedom.” – Emma Watson, actress, model, advocate for girls and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador at UN headquarters, launching HeforShe Campaign on September 20, 2014
True words, spoken by my long time idol. One of the women that I look up to has been Emma Watson for a very long time. What has truly set her apart from most other actors/actresses who reached fame from a very young age has been how grounded and humble she remained even after all these years. Fame and wealth has not taken away from her depth of character and morality. She sets an example for many other young girls to follow due to her intelligence, the attention she gives to her education and how much she uses her fame as a platform to be the voice of many who can’t speak for themselves.
I wish to be just like her! But not a copy. My own unique self with similar attributes and values! So considering my platform campaign of choice about women empowerment and gender equality, HeforShe movement seemed the most appropriate. It all came together and I am happy about my decision and the path that I’m taking. HeforShe calls for men and women alike and common individuals such as myself to step out of their comfort zone and take a step towards creating a world where men and women have equal rights. Like I have said before, any step towards progress is better than nothing at all. And change starts with an idea and it will have a ripple effect.
So that’s why I have proposed an idea to the York Region District School Board to include the addition of martial arts and self defense in the elementary school curriculum. I strongly believe that this will lower the chances of violence and assault against women aside from the fact that it has so many more benefits such as improving confidence, respect, self-discipline and physical/mental health of students. Not to mention, it will most definitely empower girls and women alike. Referring back to my earlier blog post about this topic and the steps that I have taken to make this dream come true, please click here to read about it.
York Region news segment about my proposal can be found here!
To update about the status of my proposal and the steps that I have already taken to inform relevant individuals about this idea is as follows. I have been in correspondence with Ms. Louise Sirisko, Director of Education after directing a formal letter of request to her as well as Ms. Corrie McBain, the Chair of York Region District School Board about my proposal. In her formal response Ms. Sirisko has directed my request to the Superintendent of Education, Curriculum and Instructional Services Heather Sears 2ho is taking the matter into consideration and whom I will soon hear back from…
Aside from that, I have written formal letters of explanation about my proposal and plans as Miss Teenage Newmarket to the former MP of Newmarket-Aurora, Mr. Chris Ballard (whom I already hold a certificate/letter from for Ontario Athletic Carding) as well as the Mayor of Newmarket, Mr. Tony Van Bynen. My efforts did not end there, I have directed the content and explanation of my proposal to the Liberal Party of Canada and specifically none other than Mrs. Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, the Prime Minister’s wife! She has been a long supporter and advocate of Women Empowerment as well as gender equality. She is also an exemplary role model to so many females such as myself! My efforts will resume and this is just the beginning!
As a part of advocating for my campaign platform as well as supporting the HeforShe movement, I have put in a lot of time and energy into going out into the public locations of my town, Newmarket, and handing out flyers which I have had made for myself as well as the ones that the HeforShe Team has provided me. I have also printed out a grand poster with my name, title and the “In Support of HeforShe” official logo. I also held a banner with the HeforShe logo and informed the passersby of my platform as well as the HeforShe movement. I handed out flyers in front of the Newmarket Community Centre & Lions Hall as well as the entry of Newmarket Public library.
There is an outdoor display of donated books right by Main Street where passersby can stop to relax, pickup a book and read in the refreshing outdoor space. I stood by the book shelves, held my “In Support of HeforShe” banner and handed out more flyers. The day was busy and crowded in Newmarket as the Newmarket summer Music Festival, Busker Festival as well as Newmarket 10 min play was happening all in a single day on July 28th. This is called being in the right place, at the right time. With proper planning of course! I took this chance to explain to anyone who asked questions about my platform as well as my title as Miss Teenage Canada official delegate for 2018. People were curious to know and find out how I achieved this title and what I was doing to promote my crown and sash, which is an honor to wear.
Last but definitely not least, I have promoted my platform as well as the HeforShe movement online by explaining to my followers and social media audience in two video speeches: One in English and the other in French. Speaking and reading french has always been one of my strengths which makes me multilingual, the other language being Persian which I mainly speak at home. With this particular translation I used the help of my good friend Noah, a fellow karate athlete for which I am grateful for. Speaking-wise, French comes to me naturally, I’ve always aced my french grades as school.
I’m so glad I paid extra attention in class! And of course, I owe a great deal of my French knowledge to my exceptionally great French teacher from school. I adore this language, it sound very soothing to my ears.
The script of my speech in English written by yours truly can be read below:
“Hello, I’m Mahta – Miss Teenage Canada National Delegate for 2018.
I’m a proud supporter of “He for She” movement by United Nations Women as their purpose resonates with me also: Striving to reach a gender-equal world and empowering all women!
Now you may ask, why Women Empowerment?
I tell you this: As a karate athlete, I’ve witnessed the power and potential of women both inside and outside of the mats. Coaches and my Canadian teammates alike: they are a force to be reckoned with!
And some of them also happen to be moms, wives, students, and inspiring creative individuals!
I believe all girls should begin learning self-defence early on from elementary schools. So this way, by knowing how to defend themselves, it can lower the chances of women becoming victims of violence and assault by predators. We are strong! But we only need to be taught the proper technique!
I have taken the initial steps in making this dream a reality by proposing this idea to the York Region District School Board. Because a small step towards progress is better than nothing at all!
I INSIST: Knowing martial arts can most definitely empower women!
Every day, we are getting a step closer to a world where men and women have equal rights. It may take a long time, but eventually we will get there. Now I encourage everyone to join in this movement and stand behind the HeforShe campaign. Together, we are strong!” – Mahta
Below is the video of my speech in English, posted on all my social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram):
The following is the written script of my Speech in French:
“Bonjour tout le monde. Je m’appelle mahta. Deleguée de miss teenage Canada 2018.
Je suis fière supportrice du mouvement «HeForShe» des Femmes des Nations Unies car je crois en leur objectif: s’efforcer d’atteindre un monde ou homme et femme sont égaux et donner du pouvoir à toutes les femmes!
Vous vous demandez peut être: pourquoi le pouvoir aux femmes?
Je vous le dis: en tant qu’athlète de karaté , j’ai été témoin de la puissance et du potentiel des femmes à la fois sur le tatami et en dehors. Les entraîneuses et mes coéquipières canadiennes sont une force à prendre en compte! Et certaines d’entre elles se trouvent être aussi des mères, des femmes, des étudiantes et des personnes créatives et source d’inspiration!
Je crois que les filles devraient commencer à apprendre l’autodéfense dès l’école primaire. Ainsi , savoir comment se défendre diminuera les chances que les femmes soient victimes de violence et attaques de prédateurs. Nous sommes fortes! Nous avons seulement besoin qu’on nous enseigne les bonnes techniques.
J’ai commencé la première étape pour transformer ce rêve en réalité en présentant cette idée au conseil scolaire de la région de York. Car chaque petit pas vers le progrès vaut mieux que rien du tout!
J’insiste: connaître les arts martiaux peut absolument donner du pouvoir aux femmes!
On se rapproche un peu plus chaque jour d’un monde où les hommes et les femmes ont les mêmes droits. Cela prendra peut-être longtemps mais un jour on y arrivera. Maintenant je vous encourage tous à joindre ce mouvement et soutenir la campagne HeForShe. Ensemble, nous sommes forts!” – Mahta
Below is the video of my speech in French, posted on all my social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram):
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi
By yours truly,
Mahta – Miss Teenage Newmarket 2018