“How have things changed for women in your country over your lifetime?”

The kind folks over at The Guardian’s Global Development site asked if I wanted to send in a reflections piece as part of a project for International Women’s Day. Answering “How have things changed for women in your country over your lifetime?” in less than 400 words can’t be easy, but it’s a welcome challenge.

Here it is: Life in India on International Women’s day. This one is for my parents and Uncle

I started from 1500 words of thoughts and notes that I whittled into what they’ve published. Most of my statements are unqualified for lack of space, not explanation. Tons more to add, say and explain. That’s what I plan to use this blog for anyway.

The interactive that this is part of: Voices from around the world.

Will also take a look at the other pieces on the interactive as soon as I have a second.

Again, thank you Maria Bennett for the photo.


Update at about 6:30 am on 9 March 2011

I didn’t have the time to look through the entire International Women’s Day Interactive until much later yesterday.

I have to say: wow! What a group of women to be featured alongside!

There’s Regina Yau, founder of the pixel project, Shaharzad Akbar, the first Afghan woman to study at graduate level in Oxford, Bandana Rana from Nepal, women from Sierra Leone, Thailand, Palestine, Israel, Brazil, Burundi, the Phillipines, Southern Sudan, Cambodia, Panama and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.


It should be clear enough from what I wrote: my dedication for IWD 2011 was to my parents and uncle, for being the trail-blazers that they are.

In addition to them, I want to say this to the women of South Asia: in a subcontinent where even just being a woman can be life-threatening, your strength, courage, attitude and compassion – despite your circumstances – is a beacon to the world. My sisters in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burma, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, I salute you.


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10 thoughts on ““How have things changed for women in your country over your lifetime?”

  1. Nice to see you start blogging.

    In your Guardian post, I do have the same belief in the current generation and hope we don’t mess up.

    Yeah, putting it in 400 words is really challenging, isn’t it?

  2. Anastasia says:

    Wonderful piece, Amruta! So nice to see you join the blogging community and i’m looking forward to reading more of your thoughts 😉 Cheers, n.

  3. Marco says:

    As already mentioned: An inspiring and powerful article!

  4. MarkNezBit says:

    Bizarrely I’m put in mind of the Wizard of Oz …. a heart, a brain and courage …. It seems you have them all 🙂

    Looking forward to more …

    • mehtaamruta says:

      As always Mark, you’re too kind. Let’s see what happens. If and when reality hits, I want to have the courage to do what I need to do.

      I’ve said this before and here it is again: Thank you for all the encouragement!

  5. Vasu says:

    I was quite happy to read a very inspiring, and crisp article. As you mentioned, there is lots more to come here.

    As an Indian man, I can fully understand how challenging it is to make the right noises about gender equality back home. And when we do talk about it, I hear more about celebs / high society women, rather than the grass roots woman in the village, or the conservative middle class woman, who struggles to get a decent access to education or healthcare.

    One of the needs is the right role models for women’s empowerment. You have mentioned Kiran Bedi rightly, but I am also referring to young women who have made a mark in all sorts of fields through their intelligence and hard work, in the face of society prejudice.

    Good luck to you for doing much more and being a role model.


    • mehtaamruta says:

      Thanks Vasu.

      Yes, exactly, the problem of role models is undernoted and understated. There is seriously a lack of publicly visible women who rise from humble beginnings and make their mark on our country. But I think that it is because of the way they are expected to remain “humble” and not “show off”. I often think about the challenges such women have to face in India, and comparing it to elsewhere in the world, while they may be better off than women in LDCs, there’s a whole lot of basic stuff that cannot be taken for granted. Hence my statement about respect for them.

      And we need men like you to speak up in support!

      Do keep in touch.

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