Isatha Fofanah


Golden Women Book Scholarship Winner

Pursuing Ph.D. in Philosophy

Colorado State University

Why continuing an education is so important to her:

Being brought up in a culture where education for women is highly frowned upon, I took a risk and broke out of the cycle, so I can teach other young women that grew up in similar cultures as myself, how to stay strong, and never let anyone doubt or take control of their goals. Earning a doctorates degree has always been a personal goal of mine, and pursuing this journey means so much to me. I always promised to take advantage of the education provided in America, so that when I accomplish my degree, I can teach other underprivileged individuals that it can be done with strength, confidence, and courage. In addition to my goal of teaching the underprivileged population that it is possible to break barriers within their cultural homes, I want them to know that it is okay to be educated and become successful in whatever career field they pursue. Education is a great and a wonderful thing to accomplish, but when it ties into a personal goal that affects you emotionally and mentally it becomes more of a special gift that you want to share with every person you encounter. My goals that I have personally also tie into my professional goals, because I want to share what I have learned with others to make them successful and reach their highest potential.

Isatha proudly supports:

Denver Public Schools

Samaritan House | Denver, CO

Denver Kids Incorporate

Isatha, what does the term “Golden Women” mean to you?

When I think of the term “Golden Women” I see a strong woman that is a leader, driven, a risk taker, open minded, confident, emotionally intelligent, confident in their vision, and can adapt to all situations while still being productive in their personal lives. A “Golden Woman” is one that regardless of how many times they fail or get rejected they continue to keep walking towards the path of success. This woman that is golden is radiant, stands strong, and regardless of how many scars in her heart, still brightens the room with her smile as she walks in. The “Golden Woman” is rare, but with an opportunity can change the world one interaction at a time. Her presence gives “Golden Women” in the making an opportunity to have faith, keep hope, and pathways for others to walk in.

Isatha, describe something that is plaguing young women today and explain what can be done to turn it around? What can you do to help?

I feel that the media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, music videos, reality shows, celebrities) is plaguing our young women in society today. The images that we see of our young women demotes them from being the best versions of themselves. For example, if they are assertive and stand up for what is right they are considered aggressive, and nagging. If they strive for equality they are seen as 'still not one of us.' Yet the perception of beauty is what the media states will take young women far. And for our young women who did not grow up with a role model in their lives, they can easily fall into the trap of focusing on 'beauty' versus their brains. When you add the connotation of being of color, it is rare we find social media that embraces the beauty of those non- European women. As an African American woman I am constantly reminded of the negative stereotypes society has for me when consistently I hear 'you are different.' To me, when I hear this I chuckle because I know so many women of color who are educated, kind, saviors, intelligent, hard working, and go-getters. For these images to change, I believe it starts in the household and the interactions we have with each person we meet. It starts with our leaders in the world embracing our women to be more than secretarial workers, and more to strive for leadership. It can also come from our music celebrities as they have the power to showcase positive images of young women versus the body of women.