How I fought Gender Discrimination at home

sujata gopal
Posted March 3, 2018 from India
I walk alone without fear

India is ranked 125 of 159 countries in the Gender Inequality Index (GII).

Gender discrimination against female children is pervasive across the world. It is predominant in India. Irrespective of caste, creed, religion and social status, the overall status of a woman is lower than a man and therefore a male child is preferred.

A male child is considered a blessing and his birth is celebrated.

Every girl child faces gender discrimination at home. Evidence shows, she is usually given less food and healthcare than her brother.

This is my story. My fight against gender discrimination at home.

We are a family of 4 sisters and one brother.

My father was always very unhappy because he had 4 daughters and only one son. As a child, I would always hear him telling mom, that he will have to give lot of dowry to get us married.

Whether it was food, clothes, my brother always got the best. For both mom and dad, the center of their life was my brother.

I always wondered, why my brother got this special treatment.

I asked mom and she always said “You are a girl, you will get married and leave us some day. Your brother will be with us and take care of us when we grow old” He will perform our last rites after we die and give us Moksha”

As for my dad, a woman was an inferior being. He would never let go, any opportunity of humiliating my mom. Whenever there was a temper outburst, he would fling the food served to him. My mom would quietly clear the mess. The mental agony was too much for her and she eventually suffered from clinical depression for decades.

We, sisters, went through humiliation at all times. Many a times, at lunchtime, I would hear him complain “I have to work 24*7 to feed your stomachs”. He hardly ever spoke to his daughters. Mom took us to the doctors, whenever anyone of us fell ill. Whenever my brother fell ill, dad would take him to the doctors.

With this conditioning, I developed , a constant feeling of guilt, for being a burden on my parents. Not knowing how to fight this, every night, I would cry myself to sleep. I never asked for any food, clothes, toys from my parents. I would accept whatever was given to me, with a feeling of immense gratitude.

When I was in Class X, one day my mom told me “Never depend on a man financially. Earn your own bread. Pay for your clothes, Buy your own house. I am illiterate. I have to depend on your father for my food, shelter and clothing. I have no choice, but to tolerate the atrocities because I have five of you to look after. Marriage is not important

Mom’s words remained with me. I resolved, I would earn my livelihood, pay for my education, clothes.

When I reached Class XII, I began teaching kids in spare time, . I paid for my education, bought my clothes. Most of my needs were met from the tuition fees that I received every month.

There was no looking back, I financed my own education. Went on to join a corporate as an executive.

Through sheer hard work and grit, I grew in my career. I bought a house of my own.

Today, as I look back, there is a sense of achievement. A sense of pride for being a woman

I am happy to have lived by my tenets.

“I will never compromise on – my self-respect, dignity and values.”

My message to all women –

  • Have a voice. Speak up
  • Never compromise your respect and dignity at all times.
  • Have a growth mindset. Turn every adversity into an opportunity.

I now look forward to working with women organisations helping them to lead independent lives

This post was submitted in response to You Are a Silence Breaker..

Comments 14

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MagiOriah
Mar 03
Mar 03

Thank you for sharing your story of power.  I am inspired by the wisdom your mother shared with you that became the guiding light on your journey.  

sujata gopal
Mar 05
Mar 05

Thanks MagiOriah.

Tamarack Verrall
Mar 03
Mar 03

Dear sgk123,

My heart hurt as I began reading your story, then soared as I realized what a subversive and powerful act by your mother, and then to read how you took those words to heart and created so many hard won successes for your own life. I love your message to all women. How great to have you here in WorldPulse.

In sisterhood,

Tam

sujata gopal
Mar 05
Mar 05

Thanks Tam. It feels great to be on Worldpulse. I hope i am able to  be of assistance to my fellow sisters

Davar Ardalan
Mar 04
Mar 04

Thank you for sharing your powerful story. Your mother must have also endured so much and for her to inspire you to be financially independent took so much strength on her part. Blessings to our mothers who raise us to be loving, successful and independent women.

sujata gopal
Mar 05
Mar 05

Thanks Davar. Indeed, our mothers have been strong women

jlanghus
Mar 04
Mar 04

I love your message to all women:-) Thanks for sharing your story.

sujata gopal
Mar 05
Mar 05

Thanks jlanghus for your encouragement

jlanghus
Mar 06
Mar 06

You're very welcome:) Have a great day!

Olutosin
Mar 04
Mar 04

Oh this is awesome. I was so sad at the beginning but I love the end. I have daughters too and I celebrate them daily. We must help other girls and women too.

sujata gopal
Mar 05
Mar 05

Hi Olutosin. Agree. We must help other girls and women. Its great to know you have daughters. I am sure you must be feeling awesome. A mother's best friend is her daughter.

Sophie Ngassa
Mar 05
Mar 05

Dear sgk123, Thanks for speaking out. You were determined to stand on your feet for a better life. Now, you need to help others get out of that kind of situation. Your mum was an angel.

Hello, SGK123,

We are also five siblings: 4 woman, 1 man. :)

I feel sad that you were made to feel unimportant as a daughter together with your sisters. Your story gives me a glimpse of how daughters suffer in India. Is this going on until now?

I also feel for your mother who silently endure the disrespect from your father. But I praise her for giving you a priceless advice.

I celebrate you for winning over gender discriminatiom at home. May you inspire more girls in India to follow suit. Kudos to you.

Thank you for sharing your story. Please write more!

sujata gopal
Mar 12
Mar 12

Thank you Karen . In large parts of India, especially rural India, the girl child continues to suffer. She is either killed in the womb, deprived of nutrition, clothing and healthcare, burnt for dowry and much more. At the same time, women in urban india are making great progress in terms of education, healthcare. They have great careers. Hope some day, all women in India get to lead a life of dignity and equality