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For brave young women

My New Year resolution is to empower women through a message that has been buzzing in my head all through my adult years. I have watched, heard and read so much about abuse of women that I consider it my mission to address the issues faced by women in light of my 35 years of experience as a teacher and mother, though I know that the subject has been debated, discussed and dissected worldwide by eminent personalities, experts, serious thinkers as well as victims.

While physical abuse is the worst crime, I must remind people that emotional, intellectual and financial abuse follows a close second. In the wake of a series of these kind of offences that have been directed against women all across the globe, I shall redefine a few values, some old, some new, for women and young girls to face the challenges that keep cropping up in our dynamic society.

Let us make sure that a woman arms herself with a skill-oriented education. Ideally, let the flaming passion of a career take centre stage early in her life. Let us include her in all family matters, both personal and legal. Let her be present when a deed is drawn, a business prospect is being discussed, a banking transaction is made or a will is being read. Let her listen to the advice of her parents, but let her gut instinct guide her life. Even if she makes wrong decisions, reassure her that there is nothing that cannot be sorted out, retracted, corrected or rectified.

Failure of any sorts is just the means to another important lesson to be learnt in life. Nothing is so drastic that it cannot be dealt with — be it illness, death, losing the love of your life or failure to achieve your immediate goals. There are compensations that will turn out to be better choices. There are people who will pick you up and let you heal. There are miracles that will astound you. There are solutions that will spring up from the least expected quarters.

Physical skills are a must for young girls. Swimming, biking, driving and exercising are essential accomplishments that have to be nurtured in a girl child. She should be taught to develop good self-esteem, and be trained to seek justice for herself and others who are less privileged. We must teach our daughters to love themselves as much as they learn to shower love on their partners and family. We must guide them to identify and choose friends who are steadfast in their love and loyalty.

Financial security

The importance of financial security should be dinned into them from early childhood and parents should be role models in leading a non-extravagant life. Teach a girl the importance of saving up for a cause of her own or that of others. Financial independence is an absolute must as you may come across situations that you never have dreamt of. For instance, there are certain calamities that might take you by surprise — a sudden illness, a grievous injury, the loss of a young husband, a natural disaster or a divorce. A woman needs to contribute to a family’s finances too. Learn to live within a budget. Don’t spend on clothes, make-up, jewellery or fancy restaurants beyond a certain limit. These are ephemeral pleasures and make you want more and more. Instead, spend money and time on family, children, books and holidays. The mind needs to relax, imbibe new cultures, soak in myriad experiences and acquire fresh sensibilities.

The easiest and the most common thing in life is to crumble when a sudden disaster strikes you, but it is more practical, long lasting and recommendable to stand tall and graceful in a hostile environment

that may seem to engulf you. Society may mock you, hurt you, humiliate you, pity you and castigate you, but remember as long as you are true to yourself and your sense of integrity is in tact, you do not have to fear anything.

The most important thing to remember is that the world will not miss you if you decide to get depressed, lonely or take your life. But if you decide to challenge your misfortunes and do your best with the resources that you have been blessed with, you will carve a niche for yourself as a brave young woman.

When it comes to matters of matrimony, kindle in a young woman the interest to love and forgive a partner but let her also know that there are some situations that are irrevocable. We must make her realise the absolute need of unconditional love in a relationship but let her be aware of the bitterness and sadness that can torture and maim the same relationship. Tell her that a marriage means sanctity and security, but give her the courage to walk out of a union when things get out of hand. Stand by her, support her, hold her hand.

Do not judge her by your standards, understanding and threshold of patience; instead, accept hers. Remember that time and tradition have evolved and the same standards that apply to you may not apply to her. Listen to her heartbeat and the sounds of her silence. For, she too has a mind of her own; a sense and will that drives her forward in a particular direction. Forgive her for the errors that she may have committed in a particular circumstance. Don’t play on her ignorance but praise her sense of courage and determination. Laud her for her boldness and respect her for the decision that she has taken. Remember that her suffering is not your suffering — the length and dimension may vary, the quality and content may be different. But always be aware of the fact she too is a human being deserving to be loved, cherished, longed for and looked up to, whatever her age, culture and personality.

sreelatharadhakrishnan53@gmail.com

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Printable version | Mar 8, 2021 10:05:42 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/for-brave-young-women/article33587783.ece

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