One of our main objectives is to give women their voice. If women have it, then great. If they don’t, Eyra endeavours to give it to them.
As beautifully expressed by Audre Lorde:
“I write for those women who do not speak, for those who do not have a voice because they were so terrified, because we are taught to respect fear more than ourselves. We’ve been taught that silence would save us, but it won’t.”
This is what Eyra stands for.
On the occasion of Women’s Day, we spoke to several women and asked their thoughts on what being a woman means and how can we, as women, recognize our self-worth. These women are all just like you and me, but with a slight difference. They have lived life on their terms, they have made their choices and refused to succumb to circumstances. We bring you their thoughts, in their own words.
“As women we are brought up to be self-effacing, to not flaunt our achievements and to put our dreams on a back burner because we need to be the givers and nurturers who are responsible for the well-being of the family. It is time we broke these myths. A true nurturer is one knows her own strengths. It is not possible to be a giver if you do not even know what you have within you to give. You have to be a dreamer and achiever yourself first before you can help others along the path. So, find your strengths and flaunt them. Be positive about yourself and the rest will fall in place!”
Gita is a Senior Journalist and Author based in Bengaluru. (Her books include Baby Makers:The Story of Indian Surrogacy, Disappearing Daughters: the Tragedy of Female Foeticide and Unbound: Indianwomen@work).
“A decade ago I had read somewhere that a strong woman knows she has strength enough for the journey, but a woman of strength knows that it is in the journey where she will gain her strength.
I consider myself an evolving woman who has gained strength from the journey of life and continues to look at challenges as an opportunity to grow further. I am brilliant, unique, a leader and a follower, unfazed with the volleys that life has thrown at me. I signify a balance of both yin and yang in my persona and believe that my best is yet to come!
My simple advice to other women is to believe, trust and love yourself. Adequate self-worth is what will define how much worth we give to people and situations that we encounter in our lives.”
Shabnam is the Director – Centre of Excellence for Governance, Ethics and Transparency at UN Global Compact Network India based in New Delhi.
“Every woman is dynamic. She has so many powers inherent in her like compassion, love, sensitivity, courage etc. That is exactly why even a single mother can manage all her responsibilities beautifully, in spite of the challenges faced. But women do not even realise their potential. So many educated women succumb to torture and harassment at home as well as in outside world because they do not realise their worth and lose confidence. Fear makes them a victim.
My advice to all the women out there is to get rid of all the negativities in your life. Know your nature and use it to handle the situation tactfully. God has given us emotions to use at appropriate times and places, even emotions like anger and rage. If you sit quiet where you should be angry, it is not only you who suffers, but your family does too. Having said that, the idea is to create harmony by using these emotions and not breaking a relationship every time.”
Usha is a Home Maker and a Spiritual Seeker based out of Chennai.
“To me, being a woman means embracing all my femininity, female power, sexuality and creativity to live in a world which keeps trying to box us in, to marginalise us, to make us feel less than. Less than and labels like those mean we are constantly competing, sometimes with men, sometimes with our own self. In a world of vigilantist approaches to feminism, which sometimes make me cringe, I believe the time has come to accept equality and a more humanist angle.
My advice to women is accept, own, and celebrate your womanhood — it’s only when you accept all of you in this single breath, that you can seize the moment and make the world your own.”
Jhilmil is a Poet, Writer and the Founder of Bhor Foundation (a mental health charity) based in United Kingdom. (Her poetry and other writings, including Reclamation Song, have been widely published and anthologised).
“Men are from Mars and women are from Venus is what we believe. I am the only daughter to my dad, only sister to my three brothers, only wife (thank God!) to my lovely husband and mom to my two sons. Being surrounded by men, I realized that only a woman has the strength and capability of openly expressing her emotions. That is our strength and not our weakness. We can also forgive and forget others’ negative behavior and create peace. We need not fight for equality as we are unique and special in our own way. Then what is there to compare or compete?
We are also fearless to fight any injustice. So woman folks! Feel confident and tap on your strength in any situation. Raise above your weakness and believe that we are capable of achieving anything we set our mind on.”
Padma is the Director of Global Children Montessori School based in United States of America.
“Being a woman is to experience each day, God’s most precious blessing i.e. yourself. The entire world is nothing but the perception of our mind and believe it or not, the mind is always in our control unless we let external factors take over the controls.We often do this unknowingly and sometimes willingly. Most situations that we find ourselves in are the ones we create or agree to participate in.
While our experiences define our views, opinions and sense of right and wrong, it is the people we choose to share our lives with who decide on the quotient of contentment and happiness we experience. God has bestowed us with the ability to choose and decide the course of our lives. Even things which seem impossible can become real if only we believe in ourselves enough to continue to work towards the goal till it becomes a reality.
Women, I feel, are special as we have the ability to bring and nurture a life on this planet, love unconditionally, express ourselves without apprehension,and to laugh, dance, cry, fight, dream and set an example to the world of how life is meant to be lived.”
Anjuli is a Partner in the law firm Kochhar & Co based in Dubai.
“Women are resilient. We always have time for our family. Even when we don’t have it for ourselves, we try to accommodate every demand our home or work makes, forgetting that your body and mind needs time to reenergise. And most of all, we all try to be a Martyrs. Our resilience helps us to stretch ourselves without losing our balance. Being a woman gives us the great gift of empathy. This helps us to derive strength and determination in difficult situations and yes, we are definitely a notch higher in empathy than men. Let us use the two qualities of resilience and empathy to believe and create a world where we can live a life of equality and humanity. I love the Nora Ephron quote, ‘Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim’ and live by it.”
Sharmila is a Coordinator – Communications and Outreach at I Create India based in Bengaluru.
“I was told by my mother that she felt a bit disappointed when I was born, since I was a girl. My grandma used to always favor my brother and not me. But none of these bothered me at any point, because I was very proud of the person I was. Then after completing my school, when time came to choose my career path, my mom again said that BSc was good enough and that I shouldn’t pursue engineering, since I was after all a girl. I fought with my mom and ended up doing engineering. After bachelors, I wanted to come to the USA for my graduate studies, but again my mom wanted me to get married. All through this, my dad was very supportive and made sure I pursued my dreams. Living alone in the United States for 12 years really made me very strong mentally to face any situation.
So to me, womanhood is about being mentally strong and being able to face any situation, and coming out of it with great pride. I take extreme pride in being a woman and I am confident that that’s what I will inculcate into my daughter’s upbringing. We all should be proud of who we are, not what we are.”
Sangeetha is a Technical Program Manager at Cisco Meraki based in United States of America.
“Like me, I am sure all of you must be thankful to the lord for making us a ‘woman’. We are blessed to receive guidance, humility and courage from our inner self. With this conviction, we should define our ‘chief aim in life’ to achieve success.
Normally success is equated to winning and making a lot of money but it is much more than that! Success means to face each day with a smile and consider it as a new beginning, to never give up, to develop the will power to acquire things that bring happiness, to have inner faith and reasoning that there is meaning and purpose in everything.
Though success has different connotation to different people, it is essentially the attainment of your chief objective ‘without violating the rights of other people’.Most importantly, our destiny and success is not directed by chance, but according to the thoughts and actions we set in motion.”
Pramila is the Practice Head – Microsoft Dynamics at Larsen & Toubro Infotech Ltd. based in Mumbai.
“Mary McLeod, a popular educator and civil rights activist once said, ‘The true worth of a race must be measured by the character of its womanhood.’ The more I experience life, the more I resonate with it. And therefore, being a woman to me, is a privileged responsibility, that I must fulfil with utmost care, commitment and thought. It means to be inclusive of those around me in thought and deed, for a collective, greater good and inspire them to do the same. And it starts with being responsible for myself first. And consequently, happy.
My advice to fellow women who seek to be empowered – believe in yourself, look to be your own best friend and do what you can to uplift other women, who are yet to find their bearings! It’s the age of women. If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, surely we ought to be able to turn our lives right-side up again.”
Suhasini is an Associate Director – Client Services Group at Infosys, based in Bengaluru.