Friday, March 8, 2019

Like a girl!

"Balance for better" is this year's theme for International women's day. A balanced and an inclusive environment especially in terms of gender is truly the way forward. As highlighted by Shelley Zalis on Forbes , 'When you add more women to any equation, there's a return on equality'.  Seeing more and more women at the boardroom, courtroom, legislature, cockpit, stadium, studio or on the front-lines is certainly not only a measure of progress of the society but also encourages many others to take a leap and a recognition and  celebration the same is the sheer essence of International women's day.

Speaking of balance on an individual level.....for every woman of this millennium, achieving the right balance has been a constant challenge. We are on a tightrope......on a perpetual balancing act... switching between our different identities, working around our varied schedules, managing expectations from multiple quarters - professional-societal-maternal-domestic and not to forget our own expectations from ourselves.... Oh! the different hats we wear!  Of course, like everyone and everything else, we have our goods days and bad days. There are times when things seems to be working reasonably well, even to a level of being textbook-perfect., and there are times when things couldn't be worse off....or when one role seems to overshadow the other least for the time being.....and we feel guilty and with it, the need to justify ourselves.  But especially on those days..... we need to cut ourselves some slack....and not feel solely responsible for the things going wrong... ..and key is to go with the you what got to do...and give it your best shot! As Julia Child had said "No matter what the kitchen  (sic)  (but you can take it as life in general) ...never apologize"

Women's day is also about supporting the individual freedom of choice and how as a society we ought respect a girl's choice to live life on her own terms, whether its choice of a career or a life partner or simply how she chooses to dress.... it's her choice and thus will be her responsibility to deal with it!  Anyway, I always try to read something woman-centric on Women's day, and this time I was delighted to find many books revolving around women. We had picked up "Like a Girl - Real stories for Tough kids" by Aparna Jain by Context, Westland Publications, at the Bangalore Lit fest last year when Abhay being one of the few boys to get the author to autograph the book for him as signed as "Change the world #Like a girl...."  

As true as that, the book presents the inspiring stories of fifty six women who pioneered their way through the so called male bastions with sheer grit and determination and  sought to change the world and thus making way for more to follow. From Sultan Razia to Dipa Karmakar, follow the stories of these  women who broke stereotypes and didn't hesitate to take the road less traveled to reach great heights. While there are many famous names that we've all heard , the book also features lesser known but no less adventurous women who rose from ordinary circumstances to make an extraordinary impact - like Rashida Bi and Champa Devi Shukla who took on the multi-national Union Carbide factory through their NGO 'Chingari' or the environmentalist Sunita Narain who lead the campaign in Delhi for vehicles to switch their engines from diesel to compressed natural gas or the writer Bama who took on the caste divide in her village and wrote about it that not only won her recognition but also empowered many other Dalit girls. A great book about great women.......and for anyone comparing "being shy or to a girl..." this book is a great way to show them to change the world a girl! Happy women's day !!  

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