Smita Sarda: We Were Never Told That Since We Are Girls, We Cannot Pursue Our Dreams

Meet Smita Sarda, a staunch feminist, one of the most widely read authors at Women's Web, a software engineer by profession and a writer at heart.

What makes Smita Sarda tick? What drives her to write about the issues she does, often exploring feminism in everyday life and work?

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Meet Smita Sarda, one of the most widely read authors at Women’s Web, a software engineer by profession and a writer at heart. Smita is a staunch feminist with a progressive worldview.

She covers a wide range of topics including writing about gender neutrality, questioning traditional gender roles, and the challenges of married life. She credits her progressive worldview to her upbringing. 

No, girls are not a “debt” on their parents

Smita says she grew up in a traditional Marwari household with two sisters. Although her parents were constantly reminded by distant relatives that girls are a “lifelong debt”, they provided Smita with the best opportunities, a supportive environment free of stifling gender roles. 

Her sisters and her were free to grow in any direction they wanted and encouraged to study and pursue their dreams. “My mom ensured we were treated equally like the boys. My dad encouraged me to read, taught me the rules of cricket, football, and watched the matches with us.

We were never questioned about having friends of the opposite sex or stopped from going out with them. We were never told that since we are girls we cannot do certain things or pursue our dreams. In a way our upbringing was a rule-bender for all our immediate and distant relatives. Today, the same relatives think that my parents are lucky that they have three daughters!” 

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Writing as a refuge 

For Smita, writing became a place of refuge and venting when she started encountering patriarchal mindsets after marriage. “I was newly married and had started encountering the usual patriarchal mindsets from people around me. I had seen other women dealing with the same and my frustration was growing. Writing became my venting board, while I continued fighting my battles.

I stumbled upon Women’s Web while randomly surfing the net and realised that my thoughts could soothe, encourage or inspire someone.I wrote my first piece and got great feedback, which encouraged me to write more.”

Workplace discrimination and motherhood

Smita Sarda is an engineer at a multinational company, and has had all kinds of positive and negative experiences as a working woman. “I have been lucky enough to get the same opportunities as any other capable male colleagues. I was promoted while on maternity leave. But I have seen managers not wanting to hire girls because they would eventually quit or move. 

I have heard had my fair share of sexist comments like –

An HR person asking me indirectly about my marriage plans (to understand if I would quit), colleagues calling me beauty with brains (I hate that, why do we expect intelligence and beauty to be mutually exclusive!), being surprised about the knowledge I have in politics, sports, finance… Someone from the office said that 6 months is too early to leave my baby and join work again. Then there are colleagues asking if I miss my baby while at work.

All these baby questions never came my husband’s way though. In fact, his company thought that he should be at work when I deliver and also thereafter, since they have no paternity leave!” 

It was after becoming a mother that Smita realised that sexism exists in the parenting world as well. “Being a mother of a three-year-old, I realised how much sexism exists in the field of child-rearing too. With no baby care station in the male washrooms, to ads targeting mothers for healthy eating habits, nutrition and father for insurance. Toy stores still ask if the toy is for a girl or a boy, the gender biases being reflected in the story books and cartoons. I’m striving to offer my baby a gender neutral upbringing.”

No cherry picking of issues when it comes to feminism!

For Smita Sarda, feminism is a way of life as it reflects perfectly in her writings “Once a woman told me you don’t always have to get the feminist angle in even the smallest of task. I smiled and said, feminism is not a hat that I put on when I desire, it is the way I live my life. My writings are a reflection of what I felt and how I dealt. In every piece I wrote there was something I experienced and the reaction it triggered in me.”

Her most popular piece is where she illuminates us on the landmark judgement that says that married women are equally responsible for providing for their aged parents. Married Women Are Equally Responsible For Maintaining Their Parents, Says Bombay High Court.

Get to know Smita Sarda with her other popular posts   

Here’s wishing Smita Sarda the best on her writing journey – we are sure she will only continue to grow from strength to strength illuminating us with her unique voice and words of wisdom!

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