WOTW: Harmun Sandhu
Woman of the week
As the 2nd daughter to my parents in the 80s, my mother was told to keep trying and pray harder, maybe the next one will finally be a boy. Fast forward to 2015 when my daughter was born, can you guess how many people told me the same thing? Multiple. Decades later, had society not progressed at all?
I break gender stereotypes by not forcing myself into some mold that (Indian) society has created for me. As a mother and role model for my daughter, I am dedicated to being part of the progress. I celebrated my daughter’s first Lohri, which was traditionally only done for the birth of sons, and the same individuals who heckled me about having a boy next time, were patting me on the back telling me it was commendable that I was celebrating the birth of my daughter and distributing sweets in her honour. I would consider that a pretty big win for even one person to have progressed in their views. My husband and I both continue to create an equitable environment for our daughter by modeling an equal partnership. We don’t live by defined gender roles; we split the responsibilities, chores, and parenting. Though, I am constantly reminded that I am lucky that he “helps out” and “babysits” by the older generation. I understand they lived in a age where men were mainly the breadwinners and they weren’t expected to take on household chores and parenting duties. Today, I kindly remind them that women work just as hard in their careers and life as their male counterparts, if not harder because we have to continuously prove our worth.
Feminism to me is about not only creating equality for women, but equitable opportunities for women. Women can be presented the same opportunity as men, yes; however we don’t always have an equitable platform to stand on. That glass slipper never did fit every woman. We are all unique in our abilities and especially different in the circumstances we come from.
I encourage our children, both boys and girls, to question societal norms that continue to disadvantage and segregate us. Be leaders among your peers, your workplace or politically and encourage equitable dialogue. That is the first step to being the generation that progressed towards true equality.