My friends and I used to have a lot of discussions right after our 12th. Dealing with all the pressure and expectations, we would often chat about what to do, what career to choose, which colleges to apply at, and how to go to about this new life as adults. “ Well if I can’t do anything in my life I will get married to a rich guy,” one of my friends would say mischievously. We all knew she was just fooling around but all of us realised deep down that marriage is not a part of our plan until and unless we achieve our goals. We have a lot of dreams, plans, and being a girl did not change that. But the strength to have those dreams and to live them; that comes from our families.

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It is in the little things that your family does, to show their support toward your decisions, that stay with you in the long run. For me, my family is my backbone and has played a significant role in shaping who I am and who I want to be. At times I would get so upset when dad asked me to do some of his bank work or to recharge my phone by myself. I would get irritated and think “Why can’t he do it for me?” But only later did I realise that this was his way of preparing me to be independent. How he never treated me any different than a father would treat his son.

It is in the little things that your family does to show their support and that stay with you in the long run.

Expectations

But even the most progressive families are prone to having certain expectations from their children, especially when it came to higher studies and career.  These expectations can be quite a burden and I had to bear them as well. When it came to choosing subjects in 11th they wanted me to take up Science or at least Math. But I went on to opt for Humanities. Moreover, they wanted me to become a lawyer or a doctor. However, I first went on to try my hands in designing, and then ended up choosing mass communication. But instead of being angry or resentful, they have stood by me and never questioned my decisions.

Freedom to choose

Being a girl and having the freedom to make your own decisions and choices is something to be grateful for. Why? Isn’t it every girl’s basic right? It is. But I know sadly, that this isn’t the reality for many girls in our country. That I am privileged in this aspect. More importantly, my parents give me the freedom to live life on my terms, I didn’t have to fight for it. My family is quite progressive and has never pressured me or pushed me into doing something I didn’t want to but still, as a society, there is a long way to go.

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For a lot of us around it might not be easy to be able to choose our career and a lot of times our families might pressure us to marry early on itself. There is a dire need for this scenario to change. Every girl and woman should be the master of her life. She should be able to marry, study, work, dress up, go out on her own terms and conditions, and not that of her family or society.

My family is quite progressive and has never pressured me or pushed me into doing something I didn’t want to but still, as a society, there is a long way to go.

There are some deep-rooted stereotypes that still exist in society as well as our families. While some of them might have been discarded some still continue to live and we need to strive hard and try to make our families understand. The moment families start treating daughters just like their sons, and not make them abide by those norms which are irrelevant, progress won’t be limited to a handful of families in our society. And empowerment and independence won’t be a privilege.

Shreya is an intern with SheThePeople.TV. The views expressed are the author’s own.

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