This hard-hitting post about equality is by Jina Bilkhu, originally published on her blog in November 2016. The photo is of Jina and her sister.

Speaking purely from my British Asian background, I definitely know that there is inequality of women and how women and girls are both perceived and treated.

Ten years ago my mother told me when I was first born, I was the second daughter in the family. This auspicious, supposedly happy, occasion was not fulfilled by the community and other members of my family. My parents, obviously, were over the moon about my arrival. But it was not the same for others.

When I was born it was like people were in mourning. No one had died, they were in mourning purely because I was a girl and the fact that my mum had a second girl. Family would call my parents and instead of congratulating them on an arrival of a perfectly healthy baby, they uttered the words “I am so sorry” and “You don’t deserve this”. My mum as the feminist that she is, told them what she thought about their disgraceful backward thoughts. But those calls clearly showed that in my community girls are considered a burden and should be mourned at their birth.

Lucky
I am very thankful that my dad is not backward thinking, he did not care that he had another daughter. I think I am one of the few lucky ones because my dad had no resentment towards me – just because I was a girl. Unfortunately people’s mindsets in the Asian community are still backward. They think that girls are less equal to boys, solely because boys can work, they carry the family name and obviously boys are just better.

I feel that my generation has a duty not to carry on with this backward ideology. In many households, ideologies are passed on ‘in house’. This is the idea that people’s views are influenced primarily by what happens and is said at home, i.e. parents.

We need to break away from this and lead a new generation. This is a call for us to be the generation who celebrates a girl child.

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