Empowering Women Starts Young and with You

Article by: Sumona Chetia, Executive Content Development

I vaguely recall myself as an eight-year-old practicing a group dance choreographed by our English Ma’am. This dance wasn’t any typical group dance. A twist accompanied it. We were supposed to sing on our own and match our steps to the song. And the song was penned down by our Ma’am. The 8 of us who were part of this extravaganza for our annual parent’s day celebration weren’t much happy about it. The prime reason being it wasn’t a song of our choice. The first stanza of the song went something like this, “Hum hain nariyan…jalti chingariya. Desh ko karenge roshan…”(Hindi lyrics).

Our tiny brains couldn’t grasp a word of what we were singing or dancing to, but our Ma’am focused on making us look brave and smart as we sang at the top of our lungs. On the day of the event, we were excited because we were allowed to wear our pretty ghagras (back then, Bollywood had a huge impact on us). But what followed left us embarrassed. Ma’am had put chart paper cut-outs of a shield on our blouses. And we had to carry similar cut out of swords as we perform onstage. I was hoping for a miracle to save me from this possible prospect of being the fun talk of the school. And so it happened. I secured the second position for showing academic excellence in that year. As I was a sub-junior, a teacher instructed me to queue up with the other winners so that I don’t get lost during the prize distribution ceremony. That means I didn’t have to perform that funny group dance. My English Ma’am looked dejected, but she had to let me go. And off I went happily to stand with my peers and laugh at my friends doing the silly dance.

Years later, I understood the meaning of that song. The lyrics translated to the feelings of a brave woman wanting to make her country proud. Women Empowerment, in particular. And those paper shields and swords was to visualize the warrior in us. I let out a deep sigh of despair. Did Ma’am not explain the context of the song to us? Or I didn’t pay attention? Whatever that was, one thing was for sure that our English Ma’am wanted to instill the impression of a smart and independent woman from our early school days. Such a humble yet, powerful attempt!

Do you have a daughter? A young sister? Or any girl child within your family? If so, then now is the time to reap the seed of “You are a wonder woman!” in their hearts and minds. As they say, change begins within the home.

Let’s look at a few feasible ways on how to empower a girl at an early age and transform her into an empowered woman for the future-

1) Boost her self-esteem

It works like a charm! Be it her first dance recital or her first work of art. Every little creative work that she does appreciate it for the way it is. Make her value her worth. Build her confidence.

2) Celebrate her self-expression

Let her dress the way she wants. She may prefer princess outfits or opt for something like jeans and tee teamed up with a pair of sneakers. Don’t force on her the ideology of how a girl should dress up.

3) Shun the negativity

The truth about body shaming and beauty standards should be laid out for her to differentiate between the right and the wrong. Teach her to combat negativity by introducing her to the healthy notions of body positivity, race, colour, and creed.

4) Lead by example

Show her how you treat your female colleagues, relatives, friends, or acquaintances. Be the role model that she deserves at the early stage of her life.

5) Incorporate gender education

To empower young girls, make gender education compulsory. Guide them in understanding the basics of gender equality and disparity. Refrain them from the evil social prejudices.

6) Enhance their communication skills

Let young girls voice their opinions on every little thing that matters. Offer them the chance to recognize and develop leadership qualities. Over time as parents and guardians, you can mould a girl’s unique abilities and transform her into a respectable and responsible citizen of society.

7) Provide education

Last but definitely not the least, provide girls with education. That’s the most basic but also the most important. Let them pursue their studies to the extent of their capabilities. No one has ever regretted by presenting a girl the gift of education.

As a child, I lost my chance to understand the power of women taught by my wonderful English Ma’am (forever guilty but more than that grateful for her visionary approach), but I was lucky enough to be surrounded by learned parents, supportive elders, and inspiring role models who showed me the right way to empowering myself. You can do it too for the girls around you. Lead a good way and they will follow you.


Do you remember your inspiration? -An Anecdote

Article by- Athira Premarajan, Research and Content Development Associate

I remember exactly how the writer in me was born. It was one of those lousy afternoon sessions at school. But collectively, we looked forward to Communicative English class. The day was oddly special as we knew the results of the monthly evaluation test was on its way. We were a group of kids who innately had hatred towards the subjects of Maths and Science. At least, I wish to believe it that way. Because it was the time when Engineers and Doctors were even growing on trees (no offence)! So, we eagerly looked forward to these subject papers as accomplishing an 80 was a cakewalk, and also, we loved our teacher.

The distribution of papers was followed by the usual grin on everyone’s face. One could capture a group photo as it was always a ‘picture perfect’ moment. After her usual feedback session and advice, my teacher took my paper and started reading it line by line. It was a scary moment until I realized it was for appreciating my writing. As the subject involved mostly creative writing and the likes, it seems I had nailed it perfectly. So, that was the best moment of my life, which lead me to what I am today.

As my teacher, there will always be one person in each of our lives, who might have inspired us in being what we are today. Probably those people won’t even know it but, that particular afternoon made me believe that I can write. It made me intentional of being something I never thought I’d be. Intentionality basically is a result of self-will and perseverance. There will definitely be an inspiring figure for everyone to become what they are. Mine was my teacher. But, had I left that inspiration halfway at the end of that class, I wouldn’t have realized my talent and satiate my passion to write. Intentionality thus, should come from within and act as the catalyst in achieving our ambitions. My inspiration was my teacher and the catalyst was my will.

Being a millennial, my life comes with various perks and challenges. Opportunities being the perk and competitions being the challenge. I am certain that all of us millennial are more or less on the same path when career intentionality comes in the frame. Although similar, the situation one is in can be paradoxically different. It would not be an easy affair for a mother of two to become career intentional one fine day. But, if you have that spark within you, believe that no one or nothing can ever stop you from becoming what you want to be. I held on to my passion despite being engaged with another job. Wanting to have a career in writing, reading and writing had always been my allies. Besides, my intense will to learn the technicalities also landed me in several online courses. Now, these were my attempts in keeping my passion alive. I know that every one of you out there is a proud owner of your passion. But, how often do you nurture it? How much have you considered to turn it into a career or something more? Excuses can be made by anyone. And had the successful women had time for making excuses, never will they have been tagged under the same. So, sort out some ‘me time’ and start today. Spend an hour for building your skills and get used to the market trends before you enter it. Only willingness, or to technically put it, only intentionality will lead you to what you want to be. So, through these borrowed lines I’d like to say, be your own wind keeper.  Seasons change but, keep your passion alive, updated.