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This post kicks off the #GirlsROCK initiative on Women’s Web that we will be running all of October, in honour of October 11, the International Day of the Girl Child. Each day, we will share one beautiful blogpost on the theme. We will also showcase one organization that is doing positive work to empower vulnerable girls and women in India. If you’d like to write a post for #GirlsROCK, please drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org
As a woman/mother, I have strong “maternal feelings and emotions” for some of the girls in my family and personal network. These young beautiful girls who are the future of tomorrow, the girl with a twinkle in her eyes, the girl with a spring in her step, the girl with hopes and rainbows for a lovely tomorrow, the girl with dreams, the girl with ambitions, the girls with love and laughter, the girl with a golden heart…
BUT… the BIG BUT always makes its presence felt. The “real world” of today is NOT SO NICE with every little girl! There are so many things to watch out for, so many things to take care of, so many things to do, so many things not to do, so many things to say, so many things not to say – the very thought of how the world will be several years from now can be frighteningly unpredictable, scary and not so good!
As I mull over what I’d really want for my girls 20/30/40 years from now, I can’t help but inscribe my Secret Wish List for my Girls (NO! This is not a Mother India wish list). This is just a heart-felt list of things I wish are better for the girls of the next generation – so that they can live – truly live, experience life, make choices, dream and live their dreams!
So without any further ado, sharing my secret wish list for my girls:
1. That she is not “discriminated” against in any way in any phase of life (especially for their gender, complexion, ethnicity, physical appearance, social standing, or choices of life)
2. That she never experiences abuse of any kind – physical abuse, emotional abuse, mental abuse, financial abuse or social abuse
3. That she is physically strong; and can protect/defend herself – should the situation demand it
4. That she is endowed with good health and physical agility; and no major illnesses befall her
5. That she has a radiant smile, and doesn’t need to ever use lipstick/cosmetics as her smile is enough to take your breath away
6. That she has a natural glow on her skin; and she never really needs to use skin creams/cosmetics just look good. Her natural beauty should shine through
7. That she is always healthy and within the recommended weight range; and never ever has to deal with the weight issues (obesity, undernourishment, etc) ; Weight issues can typically change the quality and quantity of their life and life experiences
10. That she does not face the “glass ceiling” (which exists even today for women) as a part of their professional careers
11. That she has “true” freedom and control over her personal finances
12. That she can truly decide if, when and how she wants to be a mother; and that the child-birth experience is as pain-free as can medically be feasible
13. That she grows into a society where “The mind is without fear, and the head is held high”
14. That she is truly respected for what she is – by the men and women in her life
15. That by the time she grows up – Home Maintenance and other mundane domestic activities are completely automated / done by technology (For e.g.: Robots) – So “home maintenance” does not exclusively fall under the purview of things she should do
16. That she has access to safe and secure public transport (public / private) – at any time of the day or night; so that she can travel alone – for her personal/professional interests
17. That the workforce includes 50% women; and homes are run by 50% men
18. That she has at least 3 awesome friends – friends who will be willing to sign her a blank cheque (no questions asked), who will pick up her calls any time of day/night, and who stand by her during the darkest nights of her life
19. That she has enough wisdom to know when to speak and when to keep her mouth shut
20. That if required she can turn to the right individuals / organizations for help and support; and she will be heard and that she will get the required help
21. That the law of the land will protect her for her rights and interests
22. That worry does not rule her mind and life
23. That she grows to be an emotionally balanced individual
24. That she has access to the opportunities that she truly desires ; and has the potential to make a difference in the world / in the lives of those around her
25. That she is able to appreciate, understand and use technology to make her life simpler, easier and more efficient
26. That she is part of an environment that enables her to capitalize and build on her strengths; and improve on her weaknesses
27. That she has the strength and courage to take responsibility for her decisions and choices
28. That at work, she is compensated and progressed for her knowledge, skills, competence, performance and results
29. That she is aware of the multiple dimensions of power; and the explicit / implicit power that she wields
30. That she is connected with her femininity
31. That she truly understands the many hues of independence, dependence and inter-dependence
32. That she is valued as much for her brains, as her brawn and beauty
33. That for the rest of her life, she can sleep peacefully – almost everyday
34. That she is happy – at least for the most part of life
35. That she believes that she can aim for the stars, and reach the sky – if she sets her mind on it
36. That she is able to experience worldly imperfections, perfectly
37. That she leaves a personal legacy ; which will be valued and treasured for generations to come
That concludes my secret wishlist. Would love to hear your wishlist for the girls in your life? Leave a comment to let me know…
This post is dedicated to the four special girls in my life – Baby N, Baby T, Drithi and Srishti. Hope the world is a better place for YOU!
Today’s changemaker that we would like to highlight is the Akanksha Foundation that works with underprivileged children in Mumbai and Pune, with its schools as well as after-school centers. Akanksha works with boys as well as girls, but we wanted to highlight them as part of #GirlsROCK because educational initiatives of this kind are key to getting girls from low-income families into school, and giving them viable paths to pursue post schooling.
As more girls take up productive opportunities post school, parents are encouraged to support girls’ education rather than thinking of it as a waste of time and money. Akanksha works closely with municipal schools to enable reform within the existing school system that often caters to the poorest students in each neighbourhood.
How can you support Akanksha’s work?
Pic of trees and ‘dreams’ credit Melody Campbell (Used under a Creative Commons license)