Yesterday, I was playing pretend with my daughter, when she told me how she would love to have a pet dragon. “That way I can rescue the poor princesses who are always stuck in the castles.” I was amused. In that one statement, she had told me so much about the way we are bringing up our daughters today. They no longer see themselves as helpless princesses stuck in a castle, waiting for their knight in shining armour to come and rescue them. Instead, they want to roll up their sleeves and rescue the princess themselves. However, I learned another thing, our girls don’t yet realise that a prince could need some rescuing as well. It is a princess who needs rescuing, always. It is not them, but it is still a princess. While we need to destigmatise the act of “rescuing” perhaps the silver lining here is the desire in girls to come to each other’s aid. Why count on a prince to liberate you, when you can have a dependable sisterhood by your side?

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Empowered women have a strong support system behind them.
  • Apart from feminist husbands, dads and male bosses, their support system is made up of other women.
  • These women can either be your cheerleaders or those who always have your back.
  • Why wait for a prince charming to champion you, why not do it for yourself and your sisterhood?

While we need to destigmatise the act of “rescuing” perhaps the silver lining here is the desire in girls to come to each other’s aid.

When it comes to empowerment, it is either a privilege or an individual struggle for each and every woman. It is sad we have to challenge social norms and struggle for even the most basic rights. Even those belonging to the most modern and progressive families often struggle with patriarchy, either in their households or outside them. So what sets empowered women apart in society? They often have a strong support system behind them, a system which not only eases the burden of gendered duties and expectation from their shoulders, but also cheers for them. And while we must applaud the effort put in by feminist dads, male mentors, bosses and husbands, let us also acknowledge the role women around us play.

Also Read: Can Bollywood Deal With Women Empowerment More Subtly?

As a thirty-something woman, I am fortunate to have a support system made up of women, in place. At home, my mother-in-law shoulders most of the childcare and household chores. My sister and mother are my biggest cheerleaders. I have female colleagues, acquaintances and friends who are understanding, empathetic and supportive. Why does that matter? To give you some context, I changed my profession and field, throwing out five years’ worth of education and two years of practice to follow my passion. I did so as a mother of a young child. I could have faced a lot of criticism and resistance for these decisions and choices. In fact, I had braced myself for immense scrutiny, especially from women around me. I knew that many would think that I was a fool to be throwing away a privilege that many didn’t have. But to my surprise, most women told me how happy they were, that I chose to follow my dreams.

When women look at each other as sisters and take it upon themselves to have each other’s back, we end up creating a sisterhood whose benefits can be reaped by every woman, and for generations.

When I think about it now, I realise how I may have underestimated the women around me and their potential to weave a wholesome and healthy sisterhood. This also puts yet another stereotype regarding animosity amidst women to rest. We are capable of adjusting our schedules to accommodate a young mom, we won’t think twice before offering to help a woman struggling with two young kids and a ton of luggage to handle on her own at the airport, or help out a young woman new to the city figure out public transport, or encourage a friend to seek help if they are facing stress in their relationship.

Also Read: Disempowerment Of Women Is Systematic: Dr Alanoud Al Sharekh

These little things that we may do to help other women may empower them in ways we may not realise. A young mom could realise she doesn’t have to depend on her husband or a male figure to travel on her own (something she may have been “warned” about at home). A twenty-something girl may find the strength to stay back in a metro city and pursue higher education or take up a job. Friends, family or complete strangers, when women look at each other as sisters and take it upon themselves to have each other’s back, we end up creating a sisterhood whose benefits can be reaped by every woman, and for generations. So today, let us celebrate each other. Let us cheer for every woman who has been nice and kind and supportive to you and has encouraged you to empower yourself. And let us also pledge to pay it forward and cheer for other women as well.

The views expressed are the author’s own.

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