I am Tamanna Nambiar, a 15-year-old from Bangalore, India. Gender inequality is at the very heart of the Indian culture and value system, violence against women continues to be portrayed as a family problem rather than a crime. In India, it manifests as vastly different expectations for young men and women regarding their education, health, career, and overall agency in decisions affecting their future. As a young woman growing up in a society where any suggestion to reform or address inequality is seen as a strike at the very root of its cultural, community, or ethnic ethos, I strive to bring an end to all forms of discrimination against women and girls. But, I realize that this isn’t a problem only in India, Gender equality remains unfinished business in every country regardless of the country's degree of development. Unfortunately, in today's society, it has become the norm to tell women how to dress, how we should act, and how much control we have over our bodies. As I observe the extent of discrimination, it is scary to see the lack of protection of women’s rights in today's world. As a society, we should work together to improve the lives of women, and therefore, I wish to convey a message of equality through the incredible platform that SHEQUALITY has created and help people recognize their power to make a difference in combating this long-standing issue of inequality.
My name is Jade Garcia. I am 16 years old and ethnically from Dominican Republic which was where I was born and raised for a little. I moved to the United States and grew up watching the differences in societal norms. I recognize that I am privileged to live in the United States but that does come with some downsides. I was taught to say what was on my mind and what I was thinking. This led to my interest in writing articles and educating myself in specific topics especially gender related topics. I use my voice to bring awareness of the things happening around us that nobody talks about. As someone who was always set apart from the others due to my race, ethnicity, and gender, I love to use my voice to speak out for those who can’t because I can. I will forever try to be the change.
As a Woman-of-Colour and an International Student, I, Tamir Onon, have always been aware of the “placeholders” for me to fill. While I was born in Ashikaga, Japan, and am currently residing in Singapore, I clutch a Mongolian passport. Amongst my myriad of identities, a common denominator would be that I had been brought up to believe that opportunities were available for me to grab, regardless of my gender. I sat comfortably in my shell, surrounded by the strong women who aimed to shelter me from the numerous prejudices the world had to offer. What they did not realise was that I grew up with an unsettling lump in the back of my throat, first erupting when I watched facades of acceptance as equals be antithetically juxtaposed with vulgar ideologies, such as viewing women as “discardable objects''. I watched women forcefully delineating their actions, so as to not be ostracised into losing their jobs. So hear my astonishment when I chanced upon the same Cause approached by those of another gender, who did not receive the same magnitude of the Effect women had (throughout history might I add). Such ample reminders did not sit right with me. At 17 years of age, transitioning from teenagehood to adulthood is bringing me to comprehend that inequality and discrimination can only be debilitated (and hopefully eradicated) through active plumbing and participation. I aim to write with zeal in the hopes that one day, a stalemate between all genders can be reached.
My name is Adinda. I'm 18 years old living in Jakarta, Indonesia. People have questioned me if I consider myself to be a feminist. If being a feminist means that you support equal rights for women and men while recognizing there's still plenty of work to be done, then yes, I'm a feminist. My ultimate inspiration comes from the courageous woman, my mother. Tireless in her efforts to give me role models from Raden Adjeng Kartini to Margaret Thatcher to Meryl Steep.
Being a feminist is not just committed to changing negative stereotypes. It's about supporting, uplifting, and empowering other women, which I hope to do through my writings with SHEQUALITY.
My name is Azbah Wasim and I’m 17 years old. I was born and raised in Brampton, Ontario, Canada, however my upbringing was heavily influenced from my Pakistani background.In Pakistani culture, women are oppressed culturally, and many of them don’t use the voice they have. This is what sparked my interest in feminism. When I visit back home I see women around me living as the minorities their culture expects them to be. This idea seems out of the norm to me as a woman living in a much more accepting and open community. I have always wanted to step out and let other women know that they have the ability to use their voices. My mom and older sister are the two women in my life who I see living in a manner which the culture of their background would completely disagree with. I have seen the strength they carry, and it inspires me. They have proven to not only themselves but to the world around them that even as women, they too can accomplish whatever they set their mind to, and I aspire to be just like that. I want other women to know that they too can accomplish dreams that they have. I want the world to know that there is more to women than outdated gender norms. I believe that there shouldn’t be a scale of superiority between genders, and I will continue to preach that, and will strive to spread the message of feminism.
My name is Do Ngoc Nhu Binh and I’m a 17-year-old girl living in Ho Chi Minh, Viet Nam. I was born and raised here, so I can see clearly how women are treated unfairly in society. In my country, many women are taught to obey their husbands unconditionally so that their husbands will stay with them and they will not cheat on them. That was a true story that I have heard from my teachers at school, who had to live with that obsolete mindset for her entire life. Speaking of myself, I have experienced it, too. My parents taught me to do the housework when I was eight years old, but when my brother turned nine, they didn’t teach him to do anything, like I did. I asked them: “Why don’t you teach him to do the chores?”. Then, they answered: “He is a boy, so he won’t need to do these things.”. I know it doesn’t mean they love my brother more than me, but they think that chores are supposed to be women’s jobs and responsibilities, according to our “culture”. The reason for this is because these rules have existed for so long and it has been inherited by many generations so it makes people believe that this is the normal thing that every “good” girl needs to learn. As a woman in this society, I think it is the right time for me to speak up for myself and fight for my rights as well as many other women around the world, and that is the reason why I want to give a voice in SHEQUALITY. I hope that we can raise awareness about sexism and get rid of the obsolete mindsets in our society.
I am La Le Quynh Anh, a 13-year-old girl, borned and living in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. At the age of 10, I first learned about gender inequality when I read a newspaper article about a woman who was terribly beaten up by her husband during their quarrel. I was frustrated by how some people are not able to control their anger. However, I grew more furious reading the hate comments not towards the husband but rather the wife for being “annoying.” Since then, I started noticing and paid more attention to the problems concerning gender inequality around me. I love my country but I have to admit that sexism is still a huge problem here. In Vietnam, men still have the most power in the family and you would rarely hear of a woman who worked in the government. But on the bright side, changes are slowly happening and I also want to help contribute to the fight against gender inequality. Like Helen Keller once said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” Therefore, I want to work together with girls and women worldwide to make a difference in the world. And I hope that through SHEQUALITY, not only my voice but also other women’s voices will be heard to a wide range of audience.
My Vietnamese name is Phạm Phương Nguyên, which "Phạm" is my surname and "Nguyên" is my first name. However, it's quite hard to pronounce and is easily mistaken, so I use my English name Rosie, instead. I'm a 17 year old girl growing up in a small city in Vietnam. Living in a developing country where gender inequality still exists, I have to say that I'm very lucky to live in a family that values me for who I am, not for what my gender is. However, I know that not every girl has the chances that she deserves, and is treated unfairly, just because she's not a boy. When I was younger, I didn't think much about how different men and women are treated. But growing up, seeing how many women are automatically have the responsibility of doing all the housework beside their job, seeing how girls are told to be "as girly as possible" so that they can get married, seeing how a woman is told that her husband cheated on her because she's not beautiful, I know that I have to stand up. I have to do something. So I decided to write. I choose to write to express my emotion, and to use my words to fight for what I believe in. I believe in a society that women don't have to fight anymore, and I believe that we can make this happen, together.