FN Insider

Celebrating IWD – Khadija Gbla

7 March, 2018

Khadija Gbla

“My vision is to live in a world where we have absolute gender equality.”

Khadija Gbla - Human Rights Activist

Khadija Gbla was born in Sierra Leone, spent her youth in Gambia, and as a teenager put down roots in Australia. Khadija is one of those incredible women that has the ability to light up any room she enters. We were so excited when Khadija agreed to take part in our IWD 2018 campaign and we left feeling inspired and moved after hearing Khadija talk about her mission.

Why did you become an activist?

Some people are born to be leaders and others are made leaders. I felt like I had to become an activist because I felt I had to bring about change based on the experiences I had as a refugee. Having to flee my home and war, experiencing domestic violence; these experiences touched my life in a way that made me feel like I had to do something. Those experiences shaped me and they brought out this need to be part of the solution. I refuse to accept that the things that have happened to me cannot be changed for another person. I want to be the change I wish to see in the world.

What is your vision?

My vision is to live in a world where we have absolute gender equality. A world free from gender violence, from sexism, from racism, from homophobia. I want to live in a world where everyone is equal and where everyone gets a fair go.

You have experienced racism, domestic violence, sexism and inequality throughout your life. What is your message for young women in the face of adversity?

Advertisy is a part of life. And that’s unfortunate and I don’t want to sugar coat that for anybody. We all face different forms of oppression. But in the face of adversity you either back down or you fight. My message for young women is to fight. See adversity as an opportunity to fight. Be the change. Speak up. Don’t be silent. There is power in something as simple as sharing your experience. I hope women can hear my story and realise that they are not alone. There is a community of women out there who will back you up and support you.

What is your personal mantra?

Stand on the side of those who have been oppressed.

How do you empower other women?

There are people who set out to be role models. I never made that my goal so the way I empower other women is by living my life. By leading by example. In my community, the African community, women are told they are meant to be silent. In the mainstream community, black women are perceived as victims. I fought against those perceptions of who I was told to be. I have had young women contact me and tell me by me just living my life truthfully and by making decisions I made for myself that has inspired them.

What is your personal mantra?

What do you hope for the girls of the future?I hope for a world where they can be everything they desire to be on their own terms, without any barriers.

Khadija wears