Fulfilling My Potential: Pursuing Higher Education to Support Women’s Rights

United States of America

Serving as a 2015-16 Global Champion for Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) has been one of the biggest blessings for me. It all started when I was a teenager who was deeply passionate about volunteering, community service and helping others. This passion stemmed from a desire to be part of something bigger than myself; to contribute to society in whatever ways I could; and to fulfil my vision of living a meaningful life. The more I volunteered, the better I felt about my place in the community. And, for an awkward, insecure teenage girl desperately trying to find her place in the world, this was no easy feat.

Throughout high school and college, I sought opportunities to be involved in community service activities, with my identity gradually being shaped by the interesting and diverse people I met, the projects I worked on, and the value I felt I was providing.  While I have always considered myself to be a good student, one who completed her schoolwork on time, earned high marks and grades, and who loved to learn, I was also struggling to find direction for my life, one that would allow me to combine helping others with a decent living. I embraced psychology, thinking that becoming a counsellor or therapist was the right path. However, I knew in my heart that I wanted to have an impact that went far beyond helping individual clients and patients, to entire demographics and populations. This desire steered me towards the field of global health.

In graduate school, I learned about epidemiology, biostatistics, nutrition, environmental health, health systems, project management in public health, and much more. Little did I know that with every course, every project I completed and every paper I wrote, I was honing in on my true passion for human rights, specifically women’s rights. With each opportunity to undertake an independent project or write a research paper, I gravitated towards topics that resonated with me on a much deeper level than I realized, topics that focused on the rights (or lack of rights) of girls and women around the world. The fervour in which I researched and wrote about female genital mutilation or learned about human trafficking underscored my determination to alleviate these human rights abuses in my own career.

After graduating, working in several jobs in the non-profit sector, and continuing to volunteer with various organizations, I learned about the United Nations Women’s Empower Women platform in the summer of 2015. It felt like I had found my home. On the platform, I interacted with women and men from all points of the globe where we could share our passions, ideas, values, beliefs and discussions on WEE in a safe, non-judgmental environment. I felt a sense of purpose and fulfillment that I hadn’t felt for many years; a feeling that I was yearning for in my career but which had constantly evaded me.

As my Global Championship wrapped up this summer, I am fortunate that it led me to the door that I believe was always meant to open for me. This September, I am excited to start my Master of Science degree in Human Rights at the London School of Economics and Political Science, where I plan to focus my research on gender equality. I hope to learn about human rights issues in domestic and international settings and how various demographics are affected by traditions; laws; practices; societal, religious, and cultural norms and values; and other nuances that promote or hinder their human rights. While I will work hard to carve out a niche for myself in the women’s rights arena after graduating, I am confident that this is the puzzle piece I’ve been missing all along. Thank you, Empower Women!

Photographer & Videographer Credit: Courtesy of Tazeen Dhanani

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  • denial vito
    Pursuing Higher Education to Support Women’s Rights is just so great, I have to get to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URU_3CrH7cs and know all about Fulfilling My Potential. Thanks again
  • Annah Bengesai
    Very inspiring
  • Ogbeyalu Okoye
    Truly inspiring story. Thank you.
    1 of 1 Replies
  • Dr Rejoice Shumba
    Thanks Tazeen for sharing your story. I am inspired. I see a lot of myself in your story. I hope that we can connect one day.
    • Tazeen Dhanani
      Thank you, Rejoice. I would love to hear your story as well. Please feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn if you use it.
    1 of 1 Replies
  • Moureen Njule Eseme
    Wow! your story really does inspire me Tazeen. Thank you so much for sharing.
    1 of 1 Replies
  • Theresa Muzondo
    This is such an inspiring story, thank you
    1 of 1 Replies
  • Tafadzwa Gutu
    thanks for sharing Tazeen.  you have strengthened us to keep pushing. all the best in your life and studies.
    1 of 1 Replies
  • Wilhelmina Tameca Gaoses
    Greetings Tazeen

    This is a beautiful story, Thanks so much for sharing. It just goes so show that with clear determination and focus one can make this journey worth our value to empower more women in the world.

    Your story is a inspiration to all!

    Thanks again,
    • Tazeen Dhanani
      Thank you, Wilhelmina! That means a lot to me - I appreciate it :) 
    1 of 1 Replies
  • Uzoma Katchy
    Thanks for sharing. Quite inspiring.  Most of the time, some of our  experiences and exposure prepare us for the task  ahead.
    The desire to add value to the society especially  in the lives of women and girls can propel us into  unimaginable  pursuits. Your work will go a long way in  improving the well being of women and girls. 
    I wish you well in your future endeavours .
    1 of 1 Replies
  • Tim Immaculate Bih
    Hi Tazeen,  

    I wish you all the best in your career.  The sky is not your limit.
    1 of 1 Replies
    A very inspiring story. Thank you Tazeen for sharing. Wishing you the best in your future endeavors.
    • Tazeen Dhanani
      Thank you so much Ivvy, I appreciate your kind words and well wishes!
    1 of 1 Replies
  • Nasra Hassan
    Thank you for sharing your story. Hope I'll be just as successful as you 🙂 
    1 of 1 Replies
  • Tinuola Aina
    Thanks for sharing your story Tazeen. I wish you the very best in your masters programme. Keep on doing a great job. 
    1 of 1 Replies
  • Helen Fan
    Thank you for sharing your story Tazeen. It's very inspiring. Best of luck in all of your amazing future endeavors!
    1 of 1 Replies
  • Nwedobong Okon
    Your story is a reminder that passion leads aright! I wish you an outstanding success & thank you for encouraging us to seek to be better each passing day!
    • Tazeen Dhanani
      Thank YOU, Nwedobong! Your words move me deeply.
    1 of 1 Replies
  • Thanks Tazeen for sharing your volunteering journey and how it has contributed to the career path your have chosen! I wish you all the best in your endeavours.
    1 of 1 Replies
  • Stella Bakibinga
    Thanks Tazeen and good luck with your studies at the prestigious LSE!
    • Tazeen Dhanani
      Thank you, Stella! I appreciate your well wishes.
    1 of 1 Replies
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