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International Women’s Day..

 
In the last couple of months I’ve come across an organisation that fights for equality between males and females. There are already a few well known organisations that are challenging society norms as we speak. One such example is the He for She campaign. The reason I’ve decided to speak about the Pink Ladoo campaign is because it’s something that I can relate to intimately.

The Pink Ladoo campaign is also fighting for equality amongst South Asians by selling Pink Ladoos (an Indian sweet) to celebrate the birth of a baby girl.

As someone who comes from an Indian background, I guess it’s safe to say I’ve suffered gender discrimination in a variety of places from a variety of people. The sad thing however, is that my first glimpse of inequality was bestowed upon me before I was even born.

I am a Sikh. My parents were born in Punjab, India. My ancestors were Indian. I have three sisters, no brothers.

To most people the latter part of that statement would not raise eyebrows, however amongst Indians and South Asian culture, the very thought of having four daughters and no brothers would be deemed a criminal offence. Perhaps not as much now but definitely whilst growing up, I was constantly criticised for having no brothers, as were the rest of my siblings.

Growing up around and with Indian traditions and culture was, at times, difficult. As a child I was always made to feel as if my family was incomplete because my parents did not have a son, or because I did not have a brother. I was constantly belittled for being a girl. The statement, “oh only if you were a boy…” was ingrained into my brain from a young age. The fact that I wasn’t good enough because I was a girl, hurt me deeply and annoyed me to no extent.

As I grew up I began to see just how much discrimination females faced within Indian culture and I began to disassociate myself from such ideals. One particular traditional event that still gets on my nerves today is Lohri, this is a traditional event where the birth of a boy is celebrated. Big or small there’s almost certainly a celebration if you’ve given birth to a boy. I am completely against the idea of just celebrating the birth of a boy. A child is a child.

With that in mind, my family and I celebrated the birth of my 9 year old cousin when she was born in 2006. She is the pride and joy of our family and is loved and cherished by us all. She’s brought so much happiness in our lives and I’m so proud to say that she is my sister.

Although my sisters and I have grown up constantly being criticised for our gender, the one person who suffered the most was my mum. There is no one in this world who I love more than my mum. She’s an inspiration to me and she’s the one person who makes me want to be a better person.

Whilst my siblings and I were young, my mum was called names, ridiculed and ostracised for having four daughters. My dad faced difficulties too but most of the wrath was towards my mum. The culprit: friends of our family and relatives. The worst culprits in my eyes.

The constant whispers, gossiping and hateful looks drove my mum crazy but she didn’t let that phase her. She fought against these bullies to give the four of us our best chance at life. The unfortunate thing is that majority of the time it would be women criticising my mum. How a female can treat another female like that is beyond me. I don’t understand what goes on in their minds. The fact that they cherish having baby boys more than girls is laughable because they too, were at one point, baby girls. It astonishes me the lengths some women went to make sure my mum had a boy. My mum is a warrior for fighting against gender discrimination and it’s a subject that I too feel strongly about.

I fully support the Pink Ladoo campaign because a baby girl’s birth should be celebrated. She shouldn’t be shunned by society or aborted because the family wanted a boy. It’s awful the lengths some people still go to in order to have a baby boy. This needs to stop. Girls are as incredible as boys.

We are not the weaker gender, there is no such thing as the ‘weaker’ gender. We should not be dismissed nor should we be made to feel subservient. We give birth to the next generation and as individuals it’s important we take a stand to highlight just how pivotal our role in society and in this world is.

Today is International Women’s Day and I wanted to share this post to highlight that equality starts at home.

Happy International Women’s Day! Let’s fight for equality together.

#PledgeforParity

More information about the Pink Ladoo and He for She campaigns can be found in the following places:

Pink Ladoo He for She