The other side of 'Me'




Being a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother are all fascinating things. As much as being a son, a brother, a husband and a father is. However, for a woman, being a 'wife of someone' is accorded more importance than being 'who they are', by their own merit.

While growing up, I was often addressed as 'Junior Das'. My brother was not yet born and I looked and almost always behaved like my Baba. It made me grin with pride. But one thing Baba once said remains etched in my mind. He said be known by what you achieve in life and one day, they will say, am Madhurima's baba. It was of course a proud and fierce father speaking. But I have been fortunate to have parents who have taught me to be proud of what I have achieved. Fast forward few years and my little brother turns out to be a young man who always goads me to achieve the best, do my best. He always talks about how there is so much I can do. Fast forward a few more years and my significant other is the 'spouse' who attended both my colloquium and my thesis defence and 'our' labor room moment. Why am I saying all this? Because the men in our lives and their support makes us. However, we need to find our moment in our achievement. And the world needs to appreciate that.

Example 1: I have been in a room of researchers where the men are addressed by Dr.X but at times women by Mrs.Y; and this happens on emails all the time. Example 2: When am at a conference or a meeting, I often get asked, "who is taking care of Ira?". My spouse is on a wfh mode and a participative father, thanks to whom I can attend day long events. But, ever heard a man being asked, who is managing home in his absence. Of course not.

To be defined by what our fathers are or our husbands are; to be the Miss. or the Mrs. is all fine. But when that takes precedence over the individual that we are, is a dangerous one. A precedence defined by culture, tradition, societal expectations. Happens in academia, industry, all over.

The article below cites such examples of sheer irresponsibility. Time we all take notice. Thanks Harini Nagendra for sharing this article on your timeline.

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