By Tania Martínez, Mexico
For the last eight years I’ve been working on HIV and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in Mexico but also globally, and I really feel that I have one of the most beautiful jobs ever.
How can I say that this is the most beautiful job ever? I get to learn all the time; I have the most open-minded and smart colleagues; and with every single project I have the opportunity to obtain such a wonderful intellectual and personal experience.
I focused my work on negotiate with decision makers in order to have better public policies, for this I have to do a lot of research on certain topics, attend meetings with colleagues and key targets and sometimes I get the chance to hold workshops to promote new leaderships within young people.
There are so many things that I would have loved to know when I was a teenager. I wish that somebody would have told me that I can actually do whatever I want. I had my parents and all the time they told me that I should do whatever makes me feel happy, but you never get to believe that you can do whatever you want until you try. I’m not saying that you only have to “wish” and then things happen. There are certainly sociocultural, political, and economic factors that make things harder for women, especially for young women, to pursue their dreams and find professional success. It can be more difficult to be heard, to be included, to be visible, but it’s actually also truly possible.
I also wish I’d known that I’m the most important person for me. Learning now to be OK, really OK with who I am, to do anything. That it’s always possible for me to be afraid, because fear is part of been a human being, so that I have to learn to see that thing (or thought) that scares me and find the way to be boosted by this fear instead of being paralyzed by it.
I had a professor who told us that there are always people that manage to change things, to make them better in every group or family or community, and that maybe we were that person. While I may not be the “best” person of my family, I really try to make my life worthy and to enjoy it in the meanwhile of course.
I only want to say to other young women out there that you really can do it if you want to. Sometimes you have to try, to study, to learn, to speak, to say the things you want or you don’t want to. You have to use your fear as a boost to help you reach your goals. There are so many other young people with whom you can unify efforts and be creative in order to deal with some obstacles. You can trust that there are a lot of people like you, like me, who want to have a better world and will do the impossible to achieve this.
Your life is worthy, simply because it is yours.
#YoungWomenSay is a collaboration between Say It Forward and The Torchlight Collective in support of International Youth Day (#IYD2016). This campaign features blogs from incredible young women from around the world about their experiences overcoming adversity. Each story shared will spark a $5.00 to the Midwives Forward campaign of the Family Care International program of Management Sciences for Health. We invite you to follow Say It Forward on Twitter and follow The Torchlight Collective on Facebook, Twitter and #TheTorchlightCollective
Tania studied International Relations at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Currently, she is the HIV Programme Director at Espolea; at the same time, she coordinates ACT!2015 Mexico. Tania is also an adviser in various organizations that work on HIV key populations, LGBTI themes, youth, human rights and development. She has deep knowledge and experience on HIV and Aids, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, discrimination, gender, human rights and youth. Additionally, she has co-written and supervised different publications related to the post-2015 process, the 2030 Agenda, among some others on discrimination, HIV key populations, sexual comprehensive education, youth engagement and accountability.
She has worked for national and international Non-Governmental Organizations, and participated in advocacy and political incidence, as well as in the creation of national and international collaboration networks. She has been a member of the official delegation of her country in international high-level negotiations (Agenda 2030 and the HLM on ending Aids), and speaker on behalf of the United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth in plenary and side events. Tania is also a member of the Editorial Board of a nationwide newspaper (Reforma) and member of the Consultative board of the Mexican Alliance Positive Youths Finally, Tania has been a speaker at various national and international events focused on the significant participation of young people and their rights, especially those related to their sexual and reproductive health.