How have you broken gender stereotypes?
I grew up in a traditional household where gender roles were imposed at a young age. My main responsibilities included helping with household chores, cooking and cleaning. The ultimate goal was to get married after obtaining an undergraduate degree.
I recall the constant dialogue about marriage started very early on when I first became a teenager and it often made me feel unworthy because I was told to excel in the household chores to attain the ultimate goal so I’d please my husband and future in-laws. I felt like property and I began to get very resentful when I quickly realized my younger brother (who is a only a year apart) was never asked to do any of these tasks or was encouraged to pursue his extra-curricular activities without any dialogue about marriage.
I started to rebel against the status quo and question my existence for the first time when I was 14. I questioned why there was an evident difference with respect to how we were treated and argued that it was clearly unfair. It took time and patience but I made sure that my parents understood that I wasn’t going to adhere to these roles and that I wouldn’t accept anything but equality. I’m grateful they remained patient and eventually fully understood why I took a strong stance on these issues
I paved my own path fought against these gender stereotypes set upon me because I have since lived a life where I’ve developed into my true authentic self. I attribute honesty, constant communication and patience to manifesting this change within my household. Telling my parents how I felt, when I felt it and what I needed (even when they didn’t agree or couldn’t understand) it was liberating and it allowed me to feel more confident and comfortable in my skin. I didn’t shy away challenges and always pursued what I wanted without allowing anyone’s perceptions of what I can/can’t achieve get in the way. I believe in taking risks and living a life without fear because we’ve all got one shot at this, so it’s important to make use of this time and try it all until you get it right.
What do you hope for future female leaders?
I have learned through experience that women often shy away from positions of authority and are not represented in spaces where we need their voices to be heard. I hope more women take lead through example and empower others to fill these roles. I hope we continue to support females leaders who fight to change the status quo and defy the odds. If women remain authentic in their pursuit, they’ll notice remarkable women who believe in them will naturally gravitate towards them and offer their support. I hope women recognize that fear is the enemy and to never become its hostage. Instead, dare to take that initial leap of faith, believe in themselves and put in the work.