Dear 18-Year-Old Me, Gender Issues and Discrimination Will Exist

Dear 18-year-old me,

What’s up? My life has been pretty busy juggling between science and household. It is a crazy concoction of travel, presentations, kids, kitchen, workshops, publications, school-runs and what not. It has been a soul-satisfying journey though, one that I am really proud of.

It took me long to free myself from the mental blocks that I had – partly due to my experiences as a small town girl. But once I was out of it, there was no looking back. A woman can achieve anything she sets her heart and mind to. Therefore, I would advise you too to set yourself free. Don’t cage yourself with what-ifs and what- if-nots. These doubts in your mind are mere figments of imagination that will only inhibit your natural abilities.

I have learnt from experience that the world is full of opportunities for those who take chances and believe in themselves. Be cautious, but don’t live in a box due to fear.

You will meet many people in your journey and everybody will have a story to tell. Listen to them, as every life is an inspiration for those who are willing to learn. You will realise that the maid in your house, the young widow in the bus, the blind poetess, they all played a role in your life. Therefore, value people before they become a memory.

Always help women around you; firstly, because everybody is fighting their own battle and secondly, empowering others will give you strength as well, to strive for more. You might be thinking that all these will become redundant in the next 20 years. That gender issues will be a thing of the past in the 21st century. How I wish this were true! Yes, you might see more gender equality campaigns and we-support-women statements in job advertisements. But the reality is, that you will still face discrimination because it is deep-rooted and it will take years to get rid of the biases.

Best wishes,
38-year-old, future you