A Letter To My Daughter On International Girl Child Day

Dear Daughter,

Today is International Girl Child Day and this day always evokes myriads of emotions within me. As you grow, you will comprehend the significance of this day in the world that we dwell in but this letter is not just about this one day. This note is, in fact, going to be an aide memoire for me and if I ever try to enforce my beliefs and opinions on you, this will hopefully serve as a reminder for me to back off and let you be.

I endeavour everyday to raise you as a sensitive and strong girl, but achieving this in a patriarchal society is no child’s play. While on one side I will always strive to encourage you to be yourself and stand up for your values, there will be a counterbalancing effect from a section of the society which will threaten to bog you down and crush your fiery spirit. At times, you might struggle to decide what you want to do; you might find it overbearing to fight loved ones and in a bid to want to fit in and be accepted, you may end up losing a bit of yourself.

During such times, trust me to bare your soul to me. I promise to never judge you for the way you feel or think. Believe me when I tell you that no one else would understand your mental tussle more than me. I have spent a good few years of my life pretending to be someone I am not as I thought a woman is supposed to be the epitome of sacrifice. And come to think of it, I was never even fed these thoughts by my parents. This is what social conditioning can do to us.

In the coming years, you will meet all kinds of people. Some will become friends and some will become lessons. But, don’t allow anyone to make you a target of their insolence irrespective of the value they hold in your life. Don’t ever let anyone else sit in the driver’s seat and tell you what you should do or not do, what you should be or not be. This is your journey and yours alone. Take charge and embrace yourself. Love your strengths and your imperfections. The notion of “a perfect woman” is as real as your favorite cartoon character. It is just someone’s figment of imagination!

While there will be some folks who will put you on a pedestal, there will also be those who will try to fetter you in the cuffs of stereotypes. Don’t get influenced by either and look within always. Your essence is your force and it is what defines YOU. You don’t need to change that to please anyone, not even me.

Live, laugh, love, learn! Own your decisions and take responsibility. You will falter, you will rise and you will evolve. Be mindful of others and respect differences. And always remember that you are only answerable to your conscience.



// This letter has been published by Women’s Web on the occasion of International Girl Child Day and is available at the following link.

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