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I am raised by feminists!

I was just five years old when I told my 80 years old grandfather I wanted to learn to ride a motorbike. To the man, who had lived in the times when gender equality was not even thrown around as frequently in the media and public discussions, I wonder if my wish was too overboard. But now, when I think about his response, the venerable man had inspired me. “हो बाळा! नक्कीच. सर्व वाहने शिकायची चालवायला. अगदी बैलगाडी पासून विमानापर्यंत, सगळं आलं पाहिजे चालवता.” (Translation: Yes, my child! Definitely. Learn everything from riding a bullock cart to flying a plane!) My grandfather — he was a feminist!

In the times when it was a matter of sending a girl to school, the all-girls school was the safest choice for most parents. Despite attending non-co-ed schools when they were young, my parents enrolled me in a co-ed school. When society was busy asking if I knew how to cook, my father would immediately discourage such questions. When the same society questioned my mother about sending me away for college when I was just 16, she would shut them off with my achievements. When I was 23, a parent wanted to meet me to find out if I was shorter than their son before fixing the match; my father cut him off and told the person not to objectify anyone! To my knowledge, I found out all this very recently, and to me, my parents, they are feminists!

From primary to high school, in every class and every section, my teachers never hesitated to appoint two class monitors, one among boys and one among girls. In case of any brawl between a boy and a girl, my teachers unconsciously taught me to analyze both sides. I remember getting equally intense punishment when I misspelled a word. When I was in 7th grade, my school coach formed a girls’ team for Kho-Kho (a team sport played in India), the first time the school had created a girls’ sports team for any district-level tournament. My school teachers — they are feminists!

When I was in an undergraduate school, my hostel imposed a strong night curfew. We fought against the curfew that was only meant for one gender. My friends encouraged me to voice my opinions for equal rights— they are feminists!

From fulfilling my teenage idea of love (which, as I look back now, I find really unequal) to being the first to confess my love in the relationship, I unlearned many unjust, unequal, and unrighteous things. When I cried in my menstrual pain, he said, “I wish there were a way I could share some of your pain.” There I was, looking into the eyes of my feminist husband, who treats me as a human and throws the whole idea of patriarchy out of the window.

Working in a tech force as a woman minority can make you a victim of someone’s unconscious bias towards another gender. The CEO of the company I work for — with equality as its virtue and an Ohana of 50,000 employees spends around $2.1 million every year to address any unexplained differences in pay in the process of eliminating the gender pay gap in the company. My direct and skip managers put equal effort into empowering me with equal opportunity. My CEO and managers  —  they are feminists!

It takes an entire village to raise a child and many feminists to raise a feminist! Feminism is a concept of encouraging equality and eliminating any unconscious bias towards any gender. It is about equal status, opportunity, and rights. It is not the responsibility of one gender to be a feminist; it is as essential as it is to be a human being. In my honest opinion, we all should be Feminists! A deep-rooted patriarchal system is the root cause of why we have to embrace a whole new term to label anything to support gender equality.

My two cents on identifying an unconscious bias — let’s say I am in a conversation, and there is a reference to someone’s role/duty without explicitly revealing their gender; what, in my opinion, the gender of that person? If I say a male because duties in conversation are “supposed to be” performed by a male or a female because duties in exchange are “supposed to be” performed by a female, then it means I am unconsciously biased. Let’s bring the human race closer by consciously identifying and eliminating the unconscious bias around us! Who is with me?

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08. Aug. 2023
Mit 5 von 5 Sternen bewertet.

So well written 👏🏼

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swaroopa kadam
swaroopa kadam
09. Aug. 2023
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Thank you! :) Appreciate your comment.

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