Wissal Nada Seengouga
- Age: 25
- | She/her/hers
Country of Origin:
Country of Residence:
Women must stop being survivors of the system. We are the creators of our own destinies, the molders of our own lives. If only we held ourselves responsible for that, we could absolutely change the world.
- Wissal Nada Seengouga
Wissal Nada Sengouga was born and raised in Algeria. She is currently working toward a Doctor of Medicine at The University of Batna. As Founder of Not an SJW Show, Wissal writes content for weekly episodes, produces the episodes and distributes them to different platforms, looks for potential guests to discuss topics with, designs social media posts, and develops the marketing plan. As an Ambassador at Mental Health Talks, she is responsible for promoting and representing MHT’s values correctly, staying in touch with MHT’s latest updates and events, answering people’s inquiries and questions about MHT both online and offline, reaching out to other events to speak about MHT, and sharing MHT-related posts on social media. Additionally, Wissal is an Assistant at Bekhouche Pharmacy, a member at Medicalpro Biskra, and a volunteer at Bachir Bennacer Hospital Biskra.
What ignited your pursuit for gender equality?
As a medical student, I spend a lot of time in the emergency room. There was this one time when we received a little girl around 15 years old, who was brutally beaten by her own family members for no reason other than a rumor saying she had sex with a classmate. As I was suturing her wounds, she said with a breaking voice, "I didn't do it.” I couldn't sleep that night, and I felt helpless because I had no power to end honor crimes. I knew she wasn't the only case. Girls all over my country are living this every single day. In some cases, they're even being murdered with no one ever hearing their voices and stories. That was the beginning of my social activism on girls and women's rights.
Please share your biggest wins as an advocate for gender equality.
The lack of sexual rights is considered as one of the most significant challenges women face in Algeria. Before marriage, a woman must provide a virginity certificate signed by a doctor. Otherwise, she'd face severe consequences such as canceling marriage, being beaten by her husband and her family, and, in some extreme cases, killed brutally. Even though virginity testing is condemned by the World Health Organization, doctors here still perform it for fast financial gain, making girls believe that vaginal virginity is testable, and thus forcing them to more dangerous practices such as unprotected anal and oral sex. I took action in breaking this vicious cycle. My mission was to educate my community that these sort of tests are unscientific, inhumane, and violate basic human rights. I grabbed my mic and recorded a podcast episode in which I explained the historical background of virginity testing and how it has developed into a tool to oppress women. At the end of the episode, I suggested some solutions that doctors, policymakers, and society as a whole can take to end this practice as soon as possible. I posted the episode, and then went to sleep. When I woke up the impact was enormous. My DMs were filled with hundreds of girls' testimonies and stories, some of whom were underage. I was so thrilled to see the upcoming generation so open to discussing topics considered to be taboos. This gave me the courage to produce similar episodes around sex education and rights.
Outside of your gender equality advocacy work, what do you enjoy doing?
I am a fitness enthusiast and lift heavy weights five times a week. I enjoy making health infographics to be shared with my audience. I read books and discuss them with my team. I make podcasts about different topics.
- Arabic (Advanced/Native)
- English (Advanced/Native)
- French (Advanced/Native)
- freedom of speech advancement
- CSE in a conservative country
- meaningful youth engagement in the economy