Matiha Said – Women Deliver

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2020

Matiha Said

  • Age: 30
  •    |   She/her/hers

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Gender equality is not only a human rights issue; it's also an economic and development issue. We cannot achieve developmental goals and prosperity without empowering half the human population. Women's rights should always be prioritised and integrated into any development conversation. We must appreciate that we can only attain real progress with women in meaningful and impactful positions and with a voice to empower the next generation of women.

- Matiha Said

Bio

Matiha Said is a Kenyan human rights lawyer and gender-equality advocate involved in empowering and providing legal advice to low- and modest-income individuals on a wide range of legal issues. She currently runs various legal aid projects focusing on victims of gender-based violence and wrongly convicted pro se litigants. She has worked with various international organisations, including Justice Defenders and the United Nations, as a criminal justice and human rights practitioner. She is an ardent supporter of women’s legal empowerment, education and financial literacy and independence, especially within the Muslim community.

What ignited your pursuit for gender equality?

I have always observed how society treats women differently, often to their detriment, and how society holds different standards and expectations for men and women. I have also observed how women have often mirrored the social and mental cages that continue to limit what they believe they represent and are capable of further exacerbating the cycle of gender bias and inequality. Throughout my legal career, I have noted a lack of knowledge among women about their rights and legal resources available to them - basically, how ignorance of the law has been weaponised against women. This essentially ignited my pursuit of gender equality within the realm of legal empowerment and beyond.

Please share your biggest wins as an advocate for gender equality.

I have successfully advocated for the rights of numerous women who have gone on to empower more women. Additionally, I have positively shifted perspectives on women's rights within my community.

Outside of your gender equality advocacy work, what do you enjoy doing?

I love reading and researching exciting subjects to quench my curiosity about different topics. I also enjoy art and traveling.

Languages Spoken:

  • English (Advanced/Native)
  • Somali (Advanced/Native)
  • Swahili (Advanced/Native)

Speaks On:

  • Legal Empowerment and Gender Equality

Past Awards, Certifications, or Fellowships:

  • Winner of the Gilbert-Apollis Award, Jean Pictet Competition on International Humanitarian Law-2019
  • Award winner, "Cyberwarfare and International Humanitarian Law"
  • International Committee of the Red Cross Essay Competition in International Humanitarian Law for Eastern Africa Universities-2017
  • Winner of Best International Law Commission Draft Resolution on Regulating the Use of Drones in War, Kenya Model United Nations-2016
  • Best International Law Commission (ILC) Commissioner, Kenya Model United Nations-2016
  • Winner of the MSAUN Volunteer of the Year Award for Active Participation in Community Service-2017