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Empowering Tomorrow: Young Voices Celebrate International Women's Day

A reflection written by Bethany Rodan.

Bula, I’m Bethany Celeste Tuiqamea Rodan. I am 12 years old and I am in S1 in Holy Cross High School. I live in Scotland with my sisters and parents, Leone and Tina Rodan. 

The 3 women that I admire are my Nena (Aunt), Okusitina Bulavakarua, my Halmeoni (Paternal Grandmother), Logalumi Malumuvatu, and my Nau (Maternal Grandmother), Apolonia Tuiqamea. 

I admire these 3 women because they are strong, loving, funny and hardworking in their own right. 

My Nena is my mum’s sister. She recently retired as the Chief of Human Resources at UNIDO, where she was based in the Vienna office. Nena also worked for the UNDP in Fiji before being posted all around the world. She graduated from USP with a B.A in Economics and later on from the New School University, in NYC with an MSc in Human Resource Management and Services. 

I admire my Nena’s work ethic, working her way up the ranks as a woman of colour in the Western World. Nena has taught me that certain skills can only be taught at home, like honesty, kindness, compassion and humility. She also taught me the importance of education and not being dependent on someone else financially. 

Halmeoni is the Korean word for grandmother. Growing up, my sisters and I would watch a lot of KDrama with my paternal grandmother. So much so that we started calling her Halmeoni. The name stuck, even after all these years. 

My Nau, who is my maternal grandmother, was a teacher for many years. At just 23 years old, she was the School Principal at a school in Fiji called Natovi Primary School. She took over the role of School Principal from her late father. She would go on to dedicate a majority of her teaching career in that school. After being posted to St Agnes Primary School in Suva, she went back to pursue a degree in USP in her 40s. 

I admire my Halmeoni’s and Nau’s strong faith in God and for their life-long service to their families. They have taught me that prayer can achieve everything and that forgiveness is key to peace. They have also taught me to be patient and that God has his own time.

I think that it’s important to celebrate International Women’s Day because it makes me remember the strength of all my nanas’, my naus’ my nenas’ and be thankful that I am here today because of them.

For this year's IWD I hope that girls like me will continue working hard towards their dreams. I hope that girls like me will not feel the need to only work in a woman’s job but to challenge a man’s job, too.

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