March, 2016: Culture and Heritage
Culture and heritage are important aspects of our individualism. Each country and ethnic group has a well-defined past that has helped to shape their population. We are influenced not only by our own cultures but also by the backgrounds of the people around us. Culture establishes a multitude of different viewpoints on a vast variety of matters. There is also a sense of intrigue provided by the stark contrast that can exist between these cultures yet we can all co-exist together and have similar values that bind us together. Culture and heritage is a topic that is of immense interest to me as it is present in our day to day lives and really contributes to the idiosyncrasy of our world today.
My parents are 4th and 3rd generation “Non-Resident Indians” who grew up in England, the Middle East, the States and Canada. Their vast experience with international living and different communities has made my upbringing very “open” in the sense that cultural awareness was highly sought after. There weren’t many kids my age that had visited mandirs, churches, gurdwaras and mosques around the world by age 10. As such, I have always had an interest in learning about different cultures, religions and languages. I chose to write about culture and heritage this month as a way to delve deeper into the history and significance of certain aspects of South Asian culture.
February, 2016: Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality
Politics has long been viewed as an old boys’ club, with many believing that women are simply incapable of talking policy, inspiring voters or enacting change. As an avid follower of the news, being able to see, hear and read about women entering the political sphere is both inspiring and empowering. It’s a sign that women are tired of watching from the sidelines while men make decisions for their respective countries. This is an exciting time in politics, and I am honoured to be a part of the journey.
I decided I was a feminist when I was three years old — my babysitter wouldn’t let me build a racecar track with the boys in the neighbourhood because I couldn’t match their acute levels of pre-pubescent testosterone. Yes, I am a young woman in 2016. Yes, I absolutely believe I should have the same opportunities and rights as (not only men, but all gender identities). Inspiring young women to succeed in both the workplace and as an independent — that’s where the focus should be. I think that being a young woman is one of the most empowering things in the world, and I for one am sick of being weakened by society’s overbearing grip on the social stigma that rips our feminist integrity to shreds. Let’s kick some sociopolitical butt together, ladies.
I have been involved with women’s rights campaigns and feminist movements for nearly 7 years – ever since I truly discovered my passion for advocating for gender equality. A constant roadblock I faced was the hesitation to adopt, or flat out rejection, of the label “feminist” among both females and males. The connotations of this word and the resulting debate take away from the true task at hand – promoting fairness and helping to empower women, which is something I explored in my article, “Am I a Feminist?”
January, 2016: Abuse Awareness
“Sexual Abuse is still a stigmatized topic that the majority of people don’t enjoy talking about and don’t quite understand. No one seems to ask the questions; instead, we let misconceptions float around about the causes of sexual abuse, the consequent effect on victims, and what truly constitutes sexual abuse. With more awareness around the topic and more victims breaking their silence, it’s important that the fog is cleared and the most fundamental answers are given. My posts highlights a shot FAQ to introduce the topic and to finally get everyone on the same page about sexual abuse.”
“Recently, the word “consent” has been popping up a lot around campus and in the media. However, if you ask a group of people what consent means to them, chances are that you’ll get varying responses. This discrepancy in responses has brought into light a major flaw in our sexual consent education. My article tries to examine some of the issues that we may face when educating ourselves or others about consent and how we could improve consent education.”