I woke up on November 7 to read that the UAE was going to make the Kingdom safer and more open for women, and last year, Saudi Arabia, started allowing women to drive.
These things are not insignificant.
While women have been driving in most of the world for many years, this simple act of independence had been denied the women of The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Our sisters around the world have been denied basic rights for far too long.
Is this new information?
Of course not, and for everyone who will read this article, it will not be new to them either. We are the choir. We have been singing the same or similar songs, to the same people.
Sing to Larger Audiences
It is time to begin to sing to a larger audience, and the inaugural edition of Insight Magazine aims to do just this.
We will shine a flood light on the plight of our sisters not being given the rights that are automatically conferred on our brothers, as soon as they are born.
My role will be to take this light into the darkest corners of patriarchies that vow to keep my sisters out of sight, out of leadership, and out of the conversations that directly affect them, their bodies, their entire lives and livelihoods.
Our global warrior-sisters have been fighting, long hard battles in countries when it was not convenient, not safe and not recognized. Some of them were jailed. Some of them were violated. Many of their families were intimidated. And yet, they got up every day and they fought.
When Your Corner of the World Isn’t That Bad
My ask of you today, on this launch of Insight Magazine, is simple: if those warrior women could fight under those circumstances where safety, even life, is at risk, what can we do in our little corner of the world where things are not that bad?
Let us not confuse things not that bad with therefore things are good.
Do you live in a home where girls are supposed to do certain things that boys are not expected of boys?
Do you live in a city or country where men have certain jobs and women are barred from those positions or professions?
Are you part of a family unit where the woman has the brunt of the household labor, the emotional labor, and lack economic independence?
Have you ever praised a man for being a great father?
Have you praised his female partner for being a great mother?
Lest you think that I am not being gender sensitive, I know that families look different and that male/female groupings are not the only way that families show up in our world. I would ask you to apply the stereotypes to other unions/pairings as well, to see if the primary caregiver is being honored in equal part.
Evaluate Our Micro Decisions
Let us begin to look at all of these micro decisions that we make without even thinking.
Let us question if they are sexist or outdated, or at worst, detrimental young impressionable ears.
What are our children over-hearing, in their homes, that make them doubt their abilities?
I remember that my daughter at thirteen years of age, wanted to go away to a two-week camp. In my mind, there was absolutely no doubt that she would do that, her brother had done it a few years prior, without any problem, or hesitation from my partner. I, therefore, did not expect to run into doubt from my partner about whether our daughter should or shouldn’t attend. There was never a doubt in my mind; what the boy was allowed to do, the girl is allowed to do.
Perhaps this is so ingrained in me because there were many things, I was told I could not do, in my country of origin, while growing up. And I believed them. I did not want my daughter to believe there was anything that was beyond her capacity to attain.
Creating Equality At Home
So, when we try to save the world, we really have to start at home. How will you turn your house, your home, into a place where there is equilibrium and equality for everyone?
Will you actively work to attain the Sustainable Development Goal #5, Gender Equality within your own domicile?
We cannot hope to achieve global gender equality, if we cannot attain gender equality at home.
Let us remember to question our thoughts about what girls and women can and should be or should do.
Allow me to end with a sweet story that I saw on social media. A mother and her young daughter went to a toy store to look for dinosaurs. The female attendant tried to talk the little girl into getting a doll, because dinosaurs were for boys, and the little girl looked at her and ROARED?
I hope that made you smile.
Let’s hear from you. Onwards and welcome to Insight. •
Indrani is the founder of Indrani’s Light Foundation.