This week, I read about two women in their early 20’s who had just cast their votes.  The first one is Dalia, my friend from Egypt, who excitedly wrote on her Facebook page, “I voted! It took me six hours, but it was so worth it…” The other is Natalie from the Democratic Republic of Congo. While referring to that country’s recent election, she was quoted in a NY Times article saying, “What do I fear? I fear death. No one knows what’s going to happen.”

Politics aside, what is notable here is that these young women, both students, were able to take advantage of their right to have a voice in their futures.  They live in two countries where SowHope has funded projects giving wellness, education, and economic opportunities to impoverished women.

As I thought about what the experience of casting their votes might have meant to Dalia and Natalie, I realized that most of the women we serve are not able to vote, due in part to the fact that they are illiterate. How can you vote when you cannot read a ballot?  Or, they are too busy working all day to provide food for their families to even think of going to the polls. Or, they simply have never been told that their opinion counts, so voting is not a rung on their short ladder of self-esteem.

This ability to express your voice is no small matter, especially when it comes to women in developing countries, who often are treated as second-class citizens. Perhaps this is why Natalie from the DRC, literally scared to death, still goes to the polls.  And why Dalia, from Egypt, waits in line for six hours to cast her vote. To both of them we say, “Bravo, ladies, we hear you!”
Source: Sow Hope