“I was born and raised here in India, and I learned from an early age to be deeply suspicious of the aunties and uncles who would bend down, pat us on the head and then say to my parents with no problem at all, “Poor things. You only have three daughters. But you’re young, you could still try again.” My sense of outrage about women’s rights was brought to a boil when I was about 11. My aunt, an incredibly articulate and brilliant woman, was widowed early. A flock of relatives descended on her. They took off her colorful sari. They made her wear a white one. They wiped her bindi off her forehead. They broke her bangles. Her daughter, Rani, a few years older than me, sat in her lap bewildered, not knowing what had happened to the confident woman she once knew as her mother. Late that night, I heard my mother begging my father, “Please do something Ramu. Can’t you intervene?” And my father, in a low voice, muttering, “I’m just the youngest brother, there’s nothing I can do. This is tradition.” That’s the night I learned the rules about what it means to be female in this world. Women don’t make those rules, but they define us, and they define our opportunities and our chances. And men are affected by those rules too. My father, who had fought in three wars, could not save his own sister from this suffering.”
This is a snippet of Kavita Ramdas’ amazing TED Talk.
Women have been oppressed for so many years now, but I am not writing this post to gain any type of sympathy for my gender nor are we looking for a shoulder to lean on.
I am asking each of you to ask yourselves what we can do as a community to help increase equality between the genders? We have accomplished a lot over the past few years, but there is a lot more work to be done.
I am going to leave you with the link to Kavita’s video, and with this question: How far have we really come in regards to gender equality? This is such a simple yet complicated question. Please feel free to comment on this post with any ideas you may have!
You can watch the TED Talk here.