My Story Call for Submissions: Standing Up

UPDATED 7/28/11: The My Story Story submission process is now closed. You can now read all of the incredible submissions here.

We're back with a new call for entries for our popular print magazine department, My Story! This time we're asking women and their male supporters around the world to write on the topic of “Standing Up.”

The stories are already rolling in—World Pulse community members are writing about marching in the streets to defend women’s rights in Afghanistan, leading initiatives to distribute sanitary napkins to girls in a Kenyan slum, and taking a stand against racial discrimination in Bermuda. Winners will be published in the Winter/Spring 2012 edition of World Pulse Magazine, themed "Uprising," and the top three submissions will receive a $100 honorarium.

Have you ever stood up for yourself? For someone else? For a cause you believe in? Have you ever gotten back on your feet after being knocked down? Do you have a story about assuming leadership? About keeping integrity in a difficult situation?

Submit your story before July 21 for a chance to be published. The winning story could be yours!

Read all the submissions here.

Comment on this World Pulse News


I stood up for my own rights

By: Sumera. B. Reshi Penny by penny I collected my entrance fee. Without letting anyone know that I am preparing for masters entrance examinations. I wanted to study journalism and this desire of becoming an agent of change sneaked into my soul when I was still a child and a witness of brutalities in downtown Srinagar at the dawn armed struggle. Since then, I made it my mission to stand up for weak and be their voice. Since my childhood, I had been told that I have to bow before every order given by man. I was made to realize that I have no value in this world. I, being women have to endure every hardship that comes my way in the present or in future. So my existence was negligible. But I don’t how and when the seeds of rebellion and a habit of challenging the status quo germinated in me, despite, every now and then I being made to realize that I am a scrawny sex to be protected by man.

Continuously I was asked to leave studies and settle down as early as possible. No one was on my side. I was all alone in this journey of self empowerment. I knew the best thing towards empowering women was education. Thus, my first tool to fight with the society was to liberate myself from the shackles of illiteracy and darkness. Also, I wanted to show to everyone that with this tool I can conquer hearts and minds one day.

The day came and I went to appear in entrance examination stealthily, not letting anyone know of my plans. I qualified the examination. I was happy to have conquered unknown and a difficult territory. But alas! My luck had something else in store for me. I faced strong rejection from my family forthright. My strongest opposition came none other than from my father, who believed that journalism is men’s domain and I have nothing to do with that. Rest of the blockades came from my other relatives. They termed me an outcaste, an outlaw, a rebellion, who needs to be tamed by tying a nuptial knot with someone who can act as my true master a la circus. They wanted me to perform like a tamed beast in a circus that can do whatever his master wishes to.

I rejected the proposal forthright. Putting the lights off my small and cozy room, I started thinking of my future course. After many deliberations my inner voice won and egged me to pursue higher studies rather than go for forced marriage. The biggest hurdle for me was my tuition fee and other expenses apart from family rejection. I was unable to collect a huge sum for my admission. On the contrary, at home I was treated as a rebellion. At that juncture, home to me was not different than that of a jail or a kind a celler with minimal contact with each other. No one talked to me, food was served to me like a beggar. It appeared as if I was an outsider or some traitor trying to venture into some unknown territory, which belonged to men only.

Besides all the chaos at my home, I decided to go ahead no matter what. I knew that to be a leader of my own small world was an uphill task and if ever I want to bring in a change I have to bare this discrimination shown to me by my own people. I stood up for my own rights, the right to education. This right was my birth right and I had to fight for my own rights. This is my belief that if I can’t fight for own rights, I can never voice for others. Charity begins at home, so, I tried to be an agent of change for my own self first. With my endurance I won the battle, which once seemed impossible to achieve. This is my story of self empowerment and I happy to have won my first battle, yet I have way to go ahead to liberate womenfolk from the darkness of ignorance.

ENDS ###

Hi Sumera, Thanks for your submission to My Story! You only had to submit it once in your journal, so we've got it and it'll be evaluated. Stay tuned to hear the results!

We are so glad that you shared your story, and hope that you continue to stand up and speak up on PulseWire and in your community!

Dear Breese,

Yes, I will and that is why I wanted to become a journalist. We fight for our rights every day, every minutes and second. I also want to fight for those who can't raise their own concerns.


I would love to join with Sofiesverden, as I also find a different view to look at my life. Thak you World Pulse.



I just looked through the list of stories for the My Story call for submissions (here:

Although I submitted my story on July 18th and tagged it properly (I think), I don't see it in the list. It is called "Women in the Hall" and one can find it here:

Is there some reason my story is not showing up in the full list of stories?



Hi Katherine, Thanks for your message. There was a problem with the tag, there wasn't a comma after the MyStoryStandingUp tag to separate it from the other tags you added. I've got your story and will be sure it's included in the evaluations. Let me know if you have any other questions.

Take care, Breese

Hi Breese,

Thanks so much for responding rapidly and letting me know what the problem was. One little comma made all the difference! Great to know that now, for future posts and stories.

So thanks again. I feel part of the group now, since my story appears in the list of "Standing Up" stories. :-)

It's great to read all the amazing stories women around the world have shared. I am humbled!

Take care,


I will use PulseWire to the best of my ability. It's an amazing site and am so glad to have FINALLY found a community of like-minded women to network with, learn from and be mentored by!!! Thank you for that =)

Hi Lady, the My Story: Standing Up program is closed, but we will do other writing campaigns and programs in the next few months, so stay tuned! Thank you for your interest, and I encourage you to share your stories in your PulseWire journal any time.

Sumera, Wow, your story is just so inspiring. Reminds of the quote I will loosely write "Well behaved women never changed history" (not too sure if I got it right.) Your story is so universal yet many people take it for granted. People rarely understand when one talks of fighting for one's education, the right to self-determination and self-definition and the right to be. I can tell you that I can so relate to what you say, in many ways and I want to raise my glass and toast you, for being bold enough and a 'rebel' long enough. You knew your situation and also the way out and you did not give up. Now you stand here and speak, for yourself and for countless other women and girls. You should be proud of where you pulled yourself to. I am sure you cannot and will not be told no! Well done.

"Woman" is my slave name; feminism will give me freedom to seek some other identity altogether.

ANN SNITOW, "A Gender Diary," Conflicts in Feminism