Starting out on the road to gender justice advocate

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step: a young Polish delegate at the UN Commission on the Status of Women, shares her first steps of overcoming imposter syndrome and feeling inspired by other women who are leading the way.

17 Mar 2023
Hania Walica

Hania Walica, recipient of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s International Women Leaders scholarship. 

Ms Hania Walica

A young Polish delegate at the Commission on the Status of Women shares her story of overcoming imposter syndrome 

This year I have had an opportunity that I never thought I would have. For the last five or six years I have very intentionally called myself a feminist. This does not mean that before then I did not consider women’s rights to be crucial, but I was just not so aware of what exactly being a feminist means.  

Now, when I tell people I am a feminist, I meet three reactions. People are either neutral, or enthusiastic, or tell me that being a feminist is stupid and give some reasons for their statements. I have read and discussed feminism with quite a lot of people now and, as I get to know more, it is a topic that I am even more interested in and that inspires me to work for women’s rights.  

When I came to the Ecumenical Women’s gathering, which happened on the weekend before the start of the 67th session of the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations headquarters in New York, I felt quite confident that I was coming to learn and observe. But, right away, I noticed I was beginning to suffer from imposter syndrome. I started to question my presence around people who have already done and are currently doing so much in the field of advocating for women’s rights.  

Taking the first steps  

I really wanted to feel inspired, but instead I felt very small. It took me some time to realize something that may sound obvious from the outside but did not seem evident to me. I realized that each one of those powerful and inspiring women must have started somewhere. I do not know exactly how some of them began advocating for women’s rights, but they did not get up one day to find everything figured out and working.  

Now I realize that I am making steps in the right direction. I have started down the road which, hopefully, will lead to my voice being heard and give me the knowledge to support women in various ways. Just like every one of those women I met in New York, I need to work hard and be aware of what my goals are. I met so many people who share my point of view and who inspired me and I am very grateful for that. 

This New York chapter has closed but I realize it is just the beginning. When all of us who attended the Commission on the Status of Women were saying goodbye to each other, I heard someone say these words that fill me with hope: ‘I know that we will see each other again, somewhere and someday soon.’

Ms Hania Walica

Recipient of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s International Women Leaders scholarship.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are those of the author, and not necessarily representative of Lutheran World Federation policy.