I was born as the first child to my parents. My father was the eldest son to my grandparents. My parents and grandparents did cherished my birth but in their traditional culture, that’s not good enough. They cherish boys more than girls. Boys were seen as the treasure of the family as hope for next generation whilst girls will be nurtured up to their marriage. In another words, boys will remain in the family but girls will be sent away to produce offspring of other family.
For two years, my mum was slandered for her inability to deliver male offspring. Until my brother’s arrival, two years later, she had to suppress all her emotions and bared with such slanders. Good or bad, this reality impacted my childhood. From young, I have developed this sense of need and urgency to become stronger, tougher, and useful to others. I felt this was the only way I can stay in this household.
Years passed by, my brother married and welcomed a baby girl to the family. I heard multiple times my mum said “Thank you for giving birth to such a beautiful girl. But I wished it was a boy.” I was very offended by my mum’s words. Even more, she wasn’t aware that she simply denied the life of this baby who were just born. I couldn’t believe that she had suffered that culture herself but she still imposed that believe on her daughter-in-law.
I knew my mum believe in scientific evidence so I had to say “In fact, it is not women’s responsibility about the gender of their offspring. If you have any problem with gender of your grand children, go to your son.”
In another occasion, my father used to say “I feel sorry for you that you were born as a woman in this lifetime. You had to suffer so much more than a man.” I was very offended by these words and that urged me to become stronger and tougher to prove him wrong.
I felt ashamed of being a woman for many years. I wasn’t what my parents were hoping for. I wasn’t good enough for them to fulfill their satisfaction as parents. I failed them as parents unintentionally because I wan’t a boy. I wanted to become a person they can be proud of but I never knew how to.
Through these experiences, I become aware of the influences from our culture to our life. My parents were strongly bounded by this influence without their awareness and realisation.
In the society today, I still see many women are bounded by their cultural beliefs, not knowing how to come out of it. May be they are not aware of their entitlement to reveal their true self. They might not think about the influence of their power in the world today.
Today, I stand here before you as a woman. I am proud to be a woman, experiencing beauty of being a woman, and cherishing my existence as a woman. I am proudly sharing my experience of being a women with you with no shame, doubt or regret. I honour my strength as a woman and I express myself freely and proudly as a woman.
What unique contribution are you making to this society as a woman?