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I was raised in my native Kenya where I finished my undergraduate studies with honors in Economics and Business. I have been living in Europe for the last ten years, doing volunteer work and advancing my skills as an international entrepreneur. Now, at 33, I feel very confident about my capacity to excel in graduate school.
Gradually, since my arrival in Europe, I have built up my own company, exporting used clothing to Kenya from Europe. As an entrepreneur, I have learned to work under pressure and undertake managerial responsibilities that come with owning a business. Women account for 80% of my retail clients in Kenya. Thus, I have thus already been successful, on a micro level, advancing towards my dream of the economic empowerment of women entrepreneurs, leading, in turn, to local economic growth. I have also struggled to inspire my fellow immigrant women friends to make something out of themselves despite the enormous difficulties that we face.
One of my most formative professional experiences was serving as a volunteer with Oxfam from July through December of 2007 in Germany, receiving and sorting donated goods. My volunteer work provided me with an opportunity to demonstrate my compassion and commitment to helping others and to get directly involved with an organization that focuses on overcoming poverty and fighting injustice. It was a wonderful experience to serve as part of a highly motivated team working for a good cause. This position also helped to refine my communication skills and give me more self confidence in my ability to succeed professionally in ways that I had never dreamed of before.
I have examined your curriculum in great detail and I find myself overwhelmingly excited about the prospect of taking courses in a broad variety of disciplines that all examine the struggle of women for survival in a hostile world, especially courses in international migration issues and population trends and policy. Of central interest is the fight against human trafficking, particularly that of women and girls for purposes of sexual exploitation.
I look forward to devoting my life to research concerning the myriad ways that we might go about investing in the future of African societies by direct investment in the working-class women of those societies, especially those segments of society that have been historically marginalized. I am a cosmopolitan African woman who has traveled to over 25 countries, including Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, the USA, Australia, New Zealand, and most of the countries of Europe, along with South Africa and Uganda. Thus, I feel that I have a level of maturity and awareness that would enable me to excel in your program geared towards global development. In addition to traveling, I have lived not only in my native Kenya, but also Germany and now Switzerland, for extended periods of time. This has given me the opportunity to embrace and celebrate a plethora of cultures in interaction. I particularly look forward to sharing many of my intercultural experiences with my peers in the programme.
Having the opportunity to complete your program at XXXX, the most distinguished of its kind in the world, would provide me with the optimal foundation for a lifetime of creative work with development organizations. In time, I also hope to have the opportunity to earn a PHD in Development Studies. My interest in development dates back to growing up in Kenya in an environment where families had to struggle to meet the most basic of needs, primarily food and shelter. Living in Europe has contributed to my heightened sensitivities to the economic disparities and political divisions that exist between developed nations on the one hand, and underdeveloped nations on the other. I am also coming to better understand the vast complexities involved in how one goes about measuring and categorizing those disparities. Nevertheless, I want to focus my research on the way that women are the poorest segment of population in any given society, making gender inequality, poverty and development all closely related. Being admitted to your MSc Program would help me to come to understand the entire context of development throughout several centuries culminating in a form of economic globalization that leaves vast numbers of poor women in Africa nearly completely marginalized from economic advancement.
As an African woman, I have had many opportunities in my life to experience and witness the dilemma surrounding girls and women in a broad variety of societies. I want to be engaged in programs of empowerment of women through education and a just or living wage; I also want to continue to militate for and encourage the participation of African women in decision making. Being one of the few girls in my village to have gone to college, I would consider myself to be especially blessed if I were to be accepted to a graduate program for advanced study at the most distinguished institution of higher education in the world.
I’m deeply concerned about the persistence of disparities of educational opportunities, throughout most if not all of Africa. And this applies to genders in a similar way as it does to social classes. Fundamental cultural shifts must be fomented in the creation of more noble forms of ideology that prize rather than degreed or minimize the value of what is seen as ‘women’s activity’. By investing in female-dominated enterprises, we are investing directly in our children and the educations, which will serve as the economic motor of our societies.
Promoting a better understanding of health and nutrition considerations for various age groups, for example; that alone could radically improve our overall standard of living and foster greater involvement in decision making at all levels of society. I feel a responsibility to get engaged in the battle for equal access for all to educational opportunities, especially in Kenya, the context in which I have the best opportunity to contribute to the growing body of literature on women and development in Africa.
I have always wanted to devote myself to the empowerment of women because they are the backbone of the family and subsequently the nation. I particularly look forward to a rigorous immersion in the critical study of the effects globalization, its impact on income disparities across gender lines and according to region. I find the many optional courses offered by the Gender Institute so be particularly attractive insofar as they complement and support the study of gender and development from a global perspective. I anticipate a heavy dose of feminist political theory that will inspire my struggle to adapt the thinking of feminists from the Developed Western world to the realities of African women. I want to spend a lot of time with the question of how gender inequality affects fertility and mortality outcomes as well as the overall viability of a nation’s economic system. I want to focus on the history of colonialism and its relationship to changing structures of gender-based power, setting the stage for our post-colonial experience. Health issues, the environment, for me all of these issues are seen from the perspective of the common woman.
Having the opportunity to participate in research seminars held at the institute will greatly enhance my creativity in learning to utilize research methodologies. I want to return to the subject of my senior thesis in Kenya dealing with the relations of multilateral and bilateral institutions, such as the IMF and the World Bank, with low income countries and the role they play in the development process. In particular, I want to focus on how donor agencies and states promote market-driven globalization, and to what extent these efforts are sustainable.
Through my undergraduate studies in Maseno University, in Kenya, I was introduced to the study of macro and micro economics, the economics of development, international trade and finance, development planning, and other areas related to the graduate studies upon which I seek to embark. So I feel that I have a solid academic foundation for graduate school in development studies.
XXXX University, because of its international reputation, is the ideal place for me to undertake graduate studies towards the MSc Degree in Gender, Development and Globalisation. Your program will provide me with the broad perspective and comprehensive understanding of the history of gender relations in a way that is most relevant for understanding the way that gender issues are fundamental to understanding development issues. I hope to graduate from your distinguished program with the necessary skills for a life time of influential participation in the formulation and implementation of programs and policies geared toward the facilitation of greater gender equality and participation in development initiatives.
One of my more singular attributes for a Kenyan woman is the fact that I speak read and write German as well as English and Swahili. This will undoubtedly prove useful as I continue to expand my professional contacts and activities on an international level. I thank you for consideration of my application.