I live in a society where a woman’s struggle begins way before she is born. A tiny lump of flesh and blood, she is unable to plead for a chance to live as her parents opt for sex-selective abortion. I live in a society where the birth of a girl casts a gloom of uncertainties on the face of her parents. She is placed in the warm embrace of a mid-wife, another female, only to be murdered, buried alive, or abandoned. I live in a society where a woman is easily labeled a prostitute, a witch, an adulteress, an inauspicious widow or barren, and is flogged with 100 lashes, stoned to death, or burnt on pyres. I live in a society where girls are given dolls and make-up whereas boys are given toy-cars and books.
I live in a society where a woman is instructed, from a very young age, to be a perfect housewife as exemplified by her ability to cook, to obey and serve the husband, to compromise, and to gossip about others, while watching soap operas with her mother-in-law. I live in a society where women too conspire against other women in a property-grabbing bid, often driving out the legal but weak owners; separate a mother from her son; slander an accomplished woman; and hand over a female friend to a pack of lustful hyenas.
I live in a society where a woman is considered aggressive, Western, and even Satanic if she is expressive, independent, educated, and ambitious. She is a threat to modesty and religious values. I live in a society where beauty of a woman is judged by her looks, not by her character or intellect. I live in a society where chocolate-skinned, healthy woman are hardly venerated. I live in a society where a girl as young as 8 or 9 is married off, often to a man 8 times her age, to safeguard her future. I live in a society where a woman’s choices are dictated by others and she is expected to submit to the will of others. I live in a society where men are the decision-makers, the bread-winners, the leaders.
I live in a society where a woman risks remaining unmarried for life if she loses her temper yet a man is honoured for doing the same. I live in a society where women are blamed for rapes, domestic violence, extra-marital affairs, divorce, acid-attacks, and unruly children. I live in a society where a woman is frequently beaten by her male family members as a method of disciplining her. I live in a society where a woman’s right to sexual pleasure is curbed by female genital mutilation.
20 years of my life is a testament to a rather lopsided society. In the next 20 years, I aspire to challenge the status-quo and overturn centuries of oppression against women. This is the sole reason I joined this community of women who, I am sure, have the same vision as I do.
Take action! This post was submitted in response to Voices of Our Future Application: Your Journey and Vision.