"You are a girl, you can't..."
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"You are a girl, you can't ... ." I cannot begin to recount the number of times I have heard that phrase. Either because I wanted to play a particular sport or because of my choice of major. As a child, I didn't even realize that there were some things I was not allowed to do because of my gender. However, as I grew up, I began to realize the disparity between the sexes.
I have always wondered why my gender should serve as a basis for people to automatically decide what I can or cannot do. I was chatting online with someone one day and he asked me what I wanted to become, I didn't hesitate to reply, 'Mechanical Engineer'. He replied, 'I thought you are a girl' to which I told him I am. He then expressed his shock. This wasn't such a surprise as even my teachers are surprised and at times discouraging when they learn about my interest in such a field. Should this really be such a surprise? Aren't there great women making waves in that field? Why does what I want to become have to rely on my gender?
In my opinion, the capability of the female gender has been downplayed. Growing up, I was expected to mainly learn how to cook, clean and take care of children. I was even taught that without these skills, I would be useless to my society. Although these are important life skills, I'm yet to understand how they reduce my value and importance. I eventually learnt that girls my age in my country do not even get an education, instead they are trained and groomed for marriage. I will be forever grateful to my parents for not denying the basic right to education over something I cannot control.
Although, this is not a trivial matter that can be easily solved, it is one that is important to me. I refuse to let my gender define me. I strive to continue to rise above the odds and prove my worth; irrespective of my gender. I refuse to let society define me and stop me from pursuing my dreams. For us to begin to even tackle this problem, our mentality needs to change. At home, parents should not segregate chores and make them gender based; anybody can do any chore. At school, teachers should not be biased and instead treat boys and girls as equals. As a result of my passion for this cause, I joined the Save A Princess organization, a girl child empowerment group, who organize seminars with the sole aim of enlightening the girl child about her rights. I have endeavored to spread the word of female empowerment to anyone who would listen, and managed to bore those close to me with it. With sincerity, I have made it my mission to stand against any form of inequality. I wish I could have a broader platform to express my views even further, but this will do for now. I hope to push the gender boundaries and rise to join the league of inspiring women everywhere.