Nino Markhvaidze, 16, Kvemo Alvani

“Math is my favorite subject, I am quite good at technical fields, however, and you may find it amusing, I am going to study foreign languages at the university. Initially, I picked business administration as my future profession, as I am interested in the economics, but my teachers and my family persuaded me that as a girl I would face fierce competition and struggle to get a job in that sector. So now, I have chosen a profession more suited to a woman; at least I can work as an interpreter… I have one example of failure – my mother who used to be an economist but is now a housewife. I understand the her circumstances were different from mine, but still, her example and other people around me asserting that a woman needs a guardian to help her get a decent job, make me doubt in my abilities. We, girls, lack confidence and the society contributes to it greatly.

The other day, I was telling my classmates that I wanted to learn driving and the boys laughed at me, saying the girls are not up to the task. Then they generalized and joked about it all day. If you sit in Nino’s car, they said, you will not survive. Such attitude towards girls, affects their self-worth a lot. You may ignore remarks about your inferiority once or twice but if you hear them every day, you start to believe in it.

Often, I am bullied at school because of my looks. They say I am too skinny, “like a plank of wood”. Girls become self-conscious and we become too demanding to our appearance because of such attitude. I have started to work out at home to build some muscle. Many girls around me are thinking of a botox procedure, or wear makeup to fit the standards of beauty. And somebody in beauty business gets rich at their expense. It is a sad reality that the girls have to look the way the society expects us to.

A while ago, I participated in the FLEX program. If I’m lucky and I become a finalist, I will be able to go to the US for one year. I know that it will be a large step in my life and help me get experience, personal development and boost my self-confidence. After having lived in a foreign environment among strangers, I am sure that it will be easier for me to live in Georgia independently and will see many things in a new light.”