FIVE BOOKS WITH STRONG FEMALE PROTAGONISTS

 Article by: Sumona Chetia, Executive Content Development

Days seem longer nights feel stretched. The mundane routine of doing everything within the four walls of your house doesn’t always excite us. But we can add some pop to this lockdown work-life scenario by engaging ourselves in recreational activities. Reading is one such activity. And it can be made more fun by reading books based on strong female leads.

Since ages, the portrayal of women in literature was restricted to gender-biased roles. In Greek mythologies, women were identified as sexual objects rather than individuals. Undoubtedly female Goddesses had all the power, but it was the common woman that lacked. In the later stages, misogyny, and superiority of men took over the pages of literature. Even fairy tales chose to depict women as the damsel in distress in awe of their Prince Charming. It was only during the late 18th century when writers began to create female characters that surpassed the societal description. By the 20th century, a new wave of revolution swept across the world of books, and there was no stopping by. Women writers, female leads, and strong women protagonists flooded the field of literature.

Amongst those infinite gems here are five picks that depicted women in their true empowered self-

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1813)

Swoon over Mr. Darcy all you want but, it’s our witty female protagonist Elizabeth Bennet who steals the show. A classic novel, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, picked on the social norms of defining a woman based on her marital status, manners, and upbringing. Despite the plot of the book set in the era of a patriarchal society, Elizabeth emerged as a feminine power. In an instance, when Elizabeth encounters a question on her relationship with the high-class Mr. Darcy, she replied, “He is a gentleman, I am a gentleman’s daughter; so far we are equal”.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (1868)

Another masterpiece classic, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, tells the tale of four diverse and well-defined personalities (sisters). Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy are the four strong female leads of the book bound by their passion for writing, art, and music. At a time when women were oppressed to stay at home, Little Women gives us a glimpse of how wanting a life outside domestic life is normal and basic women’s right.

A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf (1929)

Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own is an extended essay based on a series of lectures she delivered at two colleges of Cambridge University. The narration uses an ambitious fictional character who is on a mission to find quality work written by female authors. What follows is a significant discovery. There are plenty of books written about women by men, while there are hardly any books by women on men.  Woolf points out that a room of one’s own is what a woman requires to write. A room being the space to grow, to learn, and to write. A room being the opportunity for education.

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (2000)

Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi’ s memoir (in a graphic novel form) of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. An intelligent, high spirited, and outspoken young Marjane takes us through a journey of the dark side of society amidst a war. She questions the oppression of the regime, the silencing of her opinions, and the banishment of her ideologies.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

A series of dystopian novels by Suzanne Collins, which follows the story of Katniss Everdeen, who is forced to enter into the ruthless fight and death game created by the government, with the aim of controlling the society. Katniss is a strong, independent, and smart woman. She is a symbol of rebellion against atrocities and a breaker of stereotypes. She exhibits girl power in her actions, thoughts, and words.

As society is progressing, the representation of women in literature, be it prose or poetry is evolving too. Jane Austen’s Elizabeth Bennet might now look as someone with many loopholes but undoubtedly those characters helped in shaping the creation of today’s feisty modern woman protagonists. The above list is only a small selection from the bigger lot. Please let us know in the comments section about more such books that you might have read.


FIVE RITUALS THAT WOULD BE USEFUL FOR WOMEN POST COVID-19

Article by: Shobhika Ramanathan, Associate Research Analyst

There is a powerful saying by Eleanor Roosevelt which reads as, “A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water”. The situation in which we are living now is exactly the HOT WATER phase for all and especially for women. It is for her to decide that whether she is going to come out as a cup of refreshing hot tea or just remain soaked.

Women are said to be stronger than men generally because of owning the ability to come out of any situation sooner. But without action words are just ‘words’. The current situation is just a testing phase for everyone. To come out of this is to leave the ‘fear’ which rests in us. It is left to us that whether we ‘compete’ against them or to ‘submerge’ in them.

Nobody would have even dreamt that the start of a new decade would be a bag of surprises – not a good one though. Due to this pandemic, there has been a terrible drop in the economy with many companies actually opting for recession. Jobs are now accompanied by a bad friend – ‘Insecurity’. All women are ‘Left and Right Handed Batsman when it comes to the game of life’. Wondering why? Compared to men, they are to manage both their life at home and life at work with equal concentration, without which a Home would just be a House. This time is hard for men but even harder for women.

 There is a ‘New Normal’ waiting for us ahead of this pandemic. Life would never be the same like before. There would be many changes in the work environment after this disaster. For men, they can adjust to their routine provided but for women, certain things can be tough. Thus, they must have a new plan for their daily work.

Let us see the new 5 rituals that will suit HER to abide by, after this COVID period subsides.

Home Is the New Office

All around the world, there are many organizations that have started to provide many policies for women i.e. flexible work from home – She can decide the time of work for the day. Already saddled with her office work, household chores, and childcare, she is already powered down. But since this situation is going to prevail for a little longer, this puzzle has to be solved soon. Better Sooner than Later! Gear Up!

Ask For Help

Do not hesitate to ask for help or even do one. Wherever possible, extend help to your family, co-workers, teams, and the community at large. The world knows that you have more burden in your shoulders. You can also share your work if it is too much to handle. Have a word with your manager/boss whenever you feel stuck. When your time is tough, remember there is always another person in your life to share it with.

Exercise to Energise

Dear ladies, it is important to first take care of yourself. Take nutritious food and try to exercise at least half an hour to be in-line with your day. Energise your fellow mates around you. Be Positive, Spread Positivity!

Resilience Is the New Mantra

Being resilient is itself a solution. It is true that no-one on earth predicted or were ready for this pandemic. Attaching to the feel of panic does not make this better. It is through these times that you can discover yourselves to be strong. Get back to your childhood! Remind yourself of your hobbies and do those while you are out of track. Be in contact with your colleagues and chit-chat to get relax you mind. It is OK to feel low… provided you BOUNCE BACK soon!                         

Time Table Should Be On Table

You might have come across this – “Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.” Yes! It is important that you manage your time in the right way. Take a pen now. List all the things in 2 separate lists. Things that you want and things you need to do for the day. Sort them out and figure out a final list with timings mentioned beside it. “Stick to the plan” and start your day. It is not the time which decides your start of the day, it is you who should decide it. Anytime can be your start point. So if you are not on track now, pick up your Time Table and get set for your day!

Do not worry about the situation that you are facing now. Do your job right and every other thing will fall in its place. Another famous quote reads – “The Greatest Job Security Is Performance”. Do remember that. Let us not turn back but look forward to a better future with the help of an optimistic sight!

“She was powerful not because she wasn’t scared but because she went on so strongly, despite the fear.” – Atticus.