Najda Khan Speech EASFL 15th May 2015..
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - Najda Khan Speech EASFL 15th May 2015..
He asked “What’s your favorite position?”
I replied, “CEO!".
East African Students League Conference, 15th
2015 - Nairobi, Kenya.
This paper was presented at the 2nd Eastern African Students For Liberty
Conference May 15-16 2015, Catholic University of Eastern Africa, Nairobi,
Kenya to Student Leaders in the EA region.
Hi, my name is Najda Khan, I am a 5th
Kenyan, I am an HR and Marketing Manager for WECA at
an international organization, I am a conflict
management student at the UON, I am a sister an
aspiring mother an activist a voter and a very very vocal
tax payer but above everything, I am change*.
We all know a common truth- that women always
support men, and hence the common saying “Behind
every successful man is a woman” but how much greater
truth (I ask rhetorically) is the reverse of this statement?
that “Behind every successful woman is an army of
women armed with pitch forks and torches trying to burn
That is why 80% of women know what prostate cancer is
and 7/10 men go to get tested for it because women
pushed them to, but… not ONLY do just 20% men know
about the staggering rate of untested fibrosis or cervical
cancer in women, but less than 20% of women get tested
and even when they do, we can be sure its no man or
woman who talked her into it!
The girl child is clearly on man’s blind side BUT even
more unfortunate, “the today’s woman’s” too. Her
continuous struggle out of the sinking sand that is size
‘0’, light skin, straight hair, thigh gap, boyfriends, sex etc
loudly indicates our failure not only to protect but to
raise a young strong woman of substance We have
greatly failed to provide her with a role model or mentor
to look up to for leadership. For guidance to what really
matters in a woman, and in life.
And when the wrong standards that have been set by
“The Modern Woman” seem too far-fetched and not
worth the struggle; like having Tina Turner legs,
Beyonce’s insured ‘behind’, Halle Berry’s model figure
and Vera Sidika’s boots worth 500,000… most of them
throw in the towel and decide to bow out. Yes, we don’t
talk about it a lot, but lack of purpose in life is one of the
leading causes of death. Can you imagine???
o Suicide is the SECOND leading cause of death for ages 10-
24. (2013 CDC WISQARS)
o Suicide is the SECOND leading cause of death for college-
age youth and ages 12-18. (2013 CDC WISQARS)
o More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than
from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke,
pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung
Lets put things into perspective here by asking some
simple questions, NB- women make up majority of
Kenyans population, that’s a lot of women!;
Why do we suffer in silence about domestic abuse?
Where do young and hey, mature women too! Go to
receive sexual advise? I mean before they have to
give up and consciously allow their husbands to look
for it elsewhere?
Where do young girls sign up for quality mentorship
Where do I find an empowered mothers support
We run with the First lady to raise funds for women
but how much time do we spend being one?
How many of you here have read or understood the
bill of rights?
How many of you even know what rights you have as
a woman in Kenya?
Women were more likely to have been diagnosed by a
doctor with a sexually transmitted infection – 12% of
women aged 16 to 69 said they had contracted an
infection, compared with 9% of men of the same age.
Equal proportions of men and women – 2% – had been
diagnosed more than once.
Young people are more likely than those who are older
to have been tested for the STI chlamydia (27% of men
and 44% of women aged 16 to 24, compared with 6% of
men and 12% of women aged 45 to 54).
On the other hand, while the government continues
dragging feet as far as curbing drugs from penetrating
into the country, the girl child suffers the most. Why?
Well: Certain risk factors may make the female
population MORE VULNERABLE to substance use
disorders than the male population. That is according to
a three-year study on women and young girls (aged 8–
22) which revealed that girls and young women use
substances for different reasons than boys and young
The study found that risk factors such as low self-esteem,
peer pressure, and depression make girls and young
women more vulnerable to substance use as well as
substance use disorders, in that females become
dependent faster and suffer the consequences sooner,
compared to males. (National Center on Addiction and
Substance Abuse at Columbia University, The Formative
Years: Pathways to Substance Abuse Among Girls and
Young Women Ages 8–22
And as if that is not enough… they deal with under age
sex. Full plate for them, you must admit! About 27% of
women between 16 and 24 had intercourse before they
reached age of consent according to an annual health
More than a quarter of young women today say that
they first had sex when they were below the age of 16, a
greater proportion than in any previous generation asked
about underage sex in an official annual health survey.
But don’t you suppose if the girl child was reading and
hearing more about how incredibly endowed she is to be
the crucial change that the world needs… the story
would be different? I mean, instead of being bombarded
by wrong advisors who tell her how a low cut blouse and
mini skirt will land her a job faster than she can say
‘Curriculum Vitae’. Modern woman is clouding her
reasoning on the internet, TV, radio and Newspapers
with how “emancipated” she is when she chooses what
to wear and what to flaunt, while her inner person lies
within neglected – naked, unwise, and hungry. Today,
girls know which dress Lupita Nyong’o wore to each and
every red carpet… but are completely ignorant of her
educational background at Yale School of Drama, and
Hampshire College. Ladies, what are we doing??!
Notwithstanding, every girls’ dream is valid no matter
where they are from. And there is hope! We are battered
but not shattered. Women and girls of this generation
can ride above the tides of our times and change the
world like Mother Teresa who said “You can change the
world; with one good deed to one person at a time.”
And, “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed
He asked me what my favorite position is. I replied
“CEO". I want to be the Queen; at the highest echelon of
influence. I am all of excellence. How I have juggled being
a wife, mother, daughter, house manager, care giver,
employee over the centuries should count for something.
I make ‘home’, and so far… home has good reviews!
From the cliché “east or west, home is the best”… my
POWER WOMAN’S CV is irrefutably impressive.
My being at the top is an inevitable solution to this
chaotic world. I come as a solution in the form of a
legislator, voter, activist, environmentalist, employer, a
mother, a sister, a wife and much more. But for me to
give this world a makeover, I, WOMAN, need to be
strategically placed – at the top, and to be supported.
Lets see why?
In a 13th May 2015, Huffington Post article titled
‘Women Presidents Outperform Their Male Counterparts
in Complex Economies’, Nicholas A. Pearce notes,
“In the most ethnically diverse countries, women
outperform their male counterparts when it comes to
growing the gross domestic product (GDP), a globally
significant measure of national economic progress,
according to recent findings; published in the Journal of
International Affairs. In countries characterized by the
highest levels of ethnic diversity (read: the most complex
and divided, such as the Central African Republic and
Liberia), having a female national leader is correlated
with a 6.6 percent GDP growth rate in the following year,
as compared to a rate of less than one percent with a
male leader. For example, in Liberia and the Central
African Republic – countries which rank among the most
ethnically diverse in the world – the predicted GDP
growth rate is near six percent with a female leader as
compared to a mere one percent with a male leader.”
“This revelation, which is the product of a five-decade
examination of 5,700 national leader observations in 139
nations, dispels the myth that women are too maternal,
lack strength or are otherwise ill-equipped to provide
senior-level leadership in trying times and amid complex
circumstances. Findings reveal that not only can women
grow global economies, but that a little motherly
sensitivity can go a long way in guiding a nation in need
of healing to not only mend, but thrive.”
Ethnically diverse nations (Sic. like Kenya) suffer from
more ethnic conflict and inequality, less inclusion and
weaker economic growth than their more ethnically
homogeneous counterparts. High levels of ethnic
diversity make governing a more complicated high-wire
act than in less complex societies. That women can not
only succeed in these trying circumstances, but flourish
runs counter to previous misconceptions and approaches
to women leaders, and begs a reexamination of the
qualities associated with successful leadership.”
Care, compassion and "motherly sensitivity" do not
immediately trigger thoughts of effective leadership,
nation-building and economic might… but women’s
natural collaborative, transformational, and inclusive
leadership styles always provides for radical growth.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, successfully nursed her
war-shredded, corrupt Liberia back to health. Besides
overseeing the reconstruction of Liberia, Ellen Johnson
Sirleaf launched plans to fight corruption in the Liberian
government, established an inclusive and competent
government that includes Liberian professionals,
increased salaries, wages, and pensions, enforced a free
primary public school system; triggering 80% increase in
enrollment, and the list goes on.
In Kenya, UNFORTUNATELY women representation still
deserves a lot to be desired.
It is not risky to have a woman at the top; and every man
worth his salt should support this… if Helle Thorning-
Schmidt is The Prime Minister of Denmark… Yingluck
Shinawatra, The Prime Minister of Thailand, Angela
Merkel, The Chancellor of Germany, Cristina Fernández
de Kirchner, The President of Argentina, Dilma Rousseff,
The President of Brazil, Julia Gillard, The Prime Minister
of Australia, Sheik Hasina Wajed, Prime Minister of
Bangladesh, Johanna Sigurdardottir, The Prime Minister
of Iceland, Laura Chinchilla, President of Costa Rica, Tarja
Halonen, President of Finland, Dalia Grybauskaite,
President of Lithuania, and Kamla Persad-Bissessar,
Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago…
Women- the “Queens” of this world!
Because of a Queen, ‘super-organisms have colonized
almost every landmass on Earth; except the
Antarctica and a few remote or inhospitable islands.
Because of a Queen, ‘super-organisms’ establish
themselves and thrive in areas where they have been
Because of a Queen, ‘super-organisms’ societies are
characterized by division of labor, communication
between individuals, and an ability to solve complex
Because of a Queen, they’re known as feeble creatures
that built Megalopolis - the ant labyrinth equivalent of
the Great Wall of China. [Yes, ants made it to World
Guinness Book of Records!]
And that, ladies and gentlemen… is the measure of a
woman’s untapped leadership potential. For a better
world, dare to tap it!