As my daughter grows older, what do I tell her?
Do I tell her that you are equal to any guy, or do I tell her that you are better than any guy?
Do I teach her that your body is your own, flaunt it – hide it, it is your choice or do I tell her that its discretion is the better part of valor and dress appropriately?
Do I tell her that rituals are all patriarchal and you just don’t follow them, or do I tell her that follow rituals as per your convenience?
Do I teach her that all men need to be looked with suspicion, or do I tell her that not every man disrespects women?
Do I tell her that she needs to break the norm and become a bus driver, or do I tell her to follow her passion and be a chef if she wants to be?
Do I tell her that having a girl child is the only way you can get even in this male dominated world, or do I tell her that have a child and raise it to be gender neutral and you will contribute towards equality in the world?
Do I teach her that walking alone in the dark road in the night is not safe, or do I tell her that always walk with pepper spray in your bag whether or not in a lonely road in the dark night?
Do I teach her that cooking for your family makes you a submissive woman, or do I tell her that cook if you enjoy it and love feeding your family or else get a cook to help you out?
Do I tell her that the only way you can be equal to your husband is wear the pants of the house and keep the finances to yourself, or do I tell her that each marriage involves equal involvement of both the partners?
Do I tell her to demand 50% reservation in everything from bus seats to Parliament or do I tell her that work towards getting equal with men without demanding any reservations?
Do I teach her that feminism = male bashing or do I tell her that feminism means to understand that every human is equal irrespective of sex?
Bringing up a girl child in today’s world is just not easy.
Today’s changemaking organization we’d like to highlight is Nanhi Kali, which is run by the Mahindra Education Trust and focuses on educating underprivileged girls in India. One of the big challenges to girls’ education in India is that with pressures at home such as need to supplement family income or take care of younger siblings, and without a supportive environment that motivates them to learn, girls tend to drop out from school post the primary level. In remote villages, access to high schools is also an issue, with fears over girls’ safety leading parents to pull them out of school.
Nanhi Kali’s work is in building this supportive environment for girls to continue their studies, whether through post-school support for learning, materials support or working with the larger community to help them internalise the value of girls’ education. The project has a significant scope and is currently working in 9 states across India.
You can support Nanhi Kali in a number of ways such as raising funds, starting an awareness campaign or with donations to their fund.
Pic credit: Kingdomlight (Used under a Creative Commons license)
R’s Mom is a working mother in Mumbai trying to balance work, home and
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