Because in my country, the birth of a boy is celebrated, but the birth of a girl is lamented by everybody.
Because my parents were advised by all our relatives, including my grandmother to have another baby in hope of a son because they had two daughters.
Because me and my sister were blessed to be raised by parents who were fiercely strong when it came to fighting gender biases for us.
Because the first time I realized the difference between a boy and a girl was in kindergarten when our PT teacher told me to go play hide seek because football was not a game played by girls.
Because I was lucky to be encouraged by my dad to enroll into tennis, taekwondo and skating when all the other girls were either going to dance classes or art and craft classes.
Because my parents raised us with no gender specific roles. We could doll up as much as we wanted or get filthy as we wrestled in the mud.
Because I was always taught to be on guard and be strong enough to take care of myself.
Because even if I’m wearing a salwar kameez and I’m covered from head to toe, men from all age groups will stare at me when I walk down the street.
Because I don’t feel safe walking on a road even in broad daylight without a Swiss knife or a paper cutter in my hand.
Because I actually have used that paper cutter in broad daylight on busy roads.
Because when I used to wear glasses, random people suggested that I use lenses or get a lasik surgery done so that it is easier for me to find a husband.
Because when I replied to those people that a man who would not marry me because of my glasses is not worth marrying anyways, I was told that with this attitude I would never find a husband.
Because at 24, the only aspect of my life that interests people is my marriage. My career or higher studies have no importance whatsoever because at this age marriage is what I should be thinking about.
Because people find it unbelievable that I don’t use make up and go to work every day with a blemished skin and frizzy hair.
Because it’s considered my duty to look flawless and beautiful every single second of the day.
Because I’m told by random people that I should talk softly and never answer back a guy because these are not the qualities a person wants in his wife.
Because girls in this country are taught that if a guy is eve teasing or harassing you, you should never answer him back or else his ego might get hurt and he might throw acid on you. Maybe even rape you.
Because, eve teasing, sexual harassment, pre marital sex, consensual sex, marital rape, domestic violence and rape are dirty words which are talked about in hushed voices.
Because in this country every man worships a goddess for strength, prosperity and knowledge. But the same men consider it acceptable to hit their wives or use cuss words which are derogatory for women.
Because ‘Tota’, “Item’, ‘Maal’, ‘Pataka’ are common words used for women in this society.
Because every second day you hear about girls as young as 12 are being dragged into prostitution.
Because in this age and time, being a woman is both a curse and a blessing.
Because this country needs to teach it’s sons that a woman does not want protection by a man. A woman wants respect and dignity so that never is a girl made to sit at home by her parents who fear for her security in this world.