Every day I go to a tea-shop and while doing so, I pass a coaching institute where women are taught English typing and I see women a group of 12 – 15 women enjoying their typing session. It always made me happy and was also inspiring that the girls were taking an initiative to gain control of their life. One fine day, I found a group of 6-7 girls drinking tea at the shop. Though I did take my usual seat, they were audible to me. The following is an excerpt from their conversation,
“Yesterday, I went out with my family to the amusement park. And there was an amazing dance competition going on. You should have been there. The girls were dancing so well that even I wanted to dance.”
Another girl replied, “hey you are so fond of dancing why did you not participate. You would have ‘killed it girl'”
The reply was somewhat disturbing. The first girl said, “My brother told me that I am not the ‘dancing type’ and I will not like it. He said that I am a independent and constructive girl with dreams and I should not waste my time in these things. And I think he is right, I should only focus on my typing and preparing for the bank clerical exam. It can change my life.”
I took this conversation with me and thought over it. Something about this was not correct. I made a mental note,
Is she allowed to go out?
Is her family supportive of her?
Is she able to do what she wants?
With all these boxes checked, the problem snuck its head out of everything-that-is-not-wrong pile, i.e. the tone of her voice. She lamented not participating. She felt she was stuck between being a bold independent woman and a young girl who wishes to enjoy and make merry. Her voice conveyed the fear that if she chose to go and dance, she will lose the crown of being independent and constructive girl. Sometimes the tone of a statement speaks more than the words. I discussed this with many friends and many of my female friends shared a similar situation.
This experience shaped the campaign #mererangokipawri for the International Women’s Day 2021. We will acknowledge the various colours of women and stop painting them the way men want. Everybody has different colours, if a woman is a doctor, she can also want to run out in the rain and have her roadside tea or even if she is a home maker and manages the house, she can go out for an all-night wild party. We all have our colours and we all must respect them.
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