Our social media campaign ‘What’s on her mind?’ started off with the aim to dispel myths about women. Bollywood and the Indian music industry always talk about women who think of fashion, accessories, make up, or boys. Granted, these are things women think about, but it’s not all.
We travelled across India and asked a few women to share their insights about society at large, or draw inspiration from their personal lives and talk about issues which are ‘common but silenced’ in India.
In India, women are still not liberated from societal shackles. We must adhere to our roles as a daughter, sister, wife, daughter-in-law, and mother,and do so without questioning the status-quo in society. Most women do not have the luxury to think about material things that Bollywood and the Indian music industry would have you believe.
Most women are concerned about the financial wellbeing of their families, the physical health of their elders and children, the education of their child, running their entire household within budget and manage to have savings. Some are juggling full-time work with carer responsibilities, and also have to manage the household in terms of instructing the help, where most men won’t lift a finger around the house. Why are these depictions missing in action in Bollywood? Shouldn’t film and art imitate life?
Share what’s on your mind, whether a social issue or a personal issue which you believe is ‘common but silenced’, with us. It can range from global politics, climate change, economic crisis, to personal aspirations and thoughts or critiques about our society.
Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or tag us on Instagram adding the hashtag #whatsonhermind. Send in your photo submission, your quote and your social media handles to be featured on our page.
“Currently I am in a happy space, but I don’t think that’s all to life. While I may be content, I am still striving hard to get the best opportunities for my business. My business involves exporting products like ceramics, agriculture tools, helmets, hardware, etc. Basically, you name it and we export it. Many people think that because I work with my father, I get a lot of leeway, but that stereotype is definitely incorrect in my case. I have a sense of responsibility and ownership towards the business, which means I work twice as hard as I would anywhere else. It’s been a steep learning curve, but I have eventually learnt how to compartmentalise my personal and professional life.” – Khiloni Patel
“Being an accessory designer academically, and then turning into a full fledged baker was not an easy transition, but it has given me a sense of empowerment. It proves that you can achieve whatever you set your mind to. To reach this point, it took me three years, a baby, and a marriage, but I can proudly say that I am a professional baker, an executive chef, a kick ass mother, and above all that, finally CONTENT with my life.” – Kaveri Arora Riyat
“We are reared to be the perfect woman, in all the roles we play – a daughter, a sister, a wife, a daughter-in-law. We should be working, but we should also manage the house chores, cook for the family and be responsible for cleaning and studying, all while looking fashionable. We’re supposed to be perfect in everything we do, do everything, and do it without a complaint; just submit to this ideal of perfection. But that idealistic image of the goddess who can multitask and manage it all without help, without displacing a hair on her head and without a frown, is but an illusion. We are flawed, and honestly that’s what makes us human.” – Heli Haribhakti
“This year for me is all about trying to find the right balance. So many things have been jam-packed into a single year: I’ve fallen in love, I’m getting married and moving to a new continent, and I also have a new family. In the midst of everything going on, I want to keep new relationships a priority without losing my essence: my fighting spirit. That’s what’s on my mind.” – Jahnavi Patel
“Climate change is a reality. Our generation has been reckless. We need to teach our children to respect the land and its resources. Encourage gardening, recycling, energy-saving, and teach them about sustainability. Environmental science shouldn’t just be a part of their school syllabus. As parents, we have to make it an active part of their lives.” – Lily Sinha
“We are all concerned with trivial matters in life, but if you ask me, we should all be doing something about global warming. The science behind it is overwhelming and we must take it seriously and do our bit for a sustainable future.” – Niharika Kaushik
“A woman’s success if never a topic of discussion, it doesn’t lead to respect or acknowledgement, but if she gets married at the right age and follows the norms of the society then there is a certain appreciation for her. I find it hypocritical at best. What are with all the rules and do we really need constant reassurance for our actions? Ideally speaking, we should be given our space to choose our own lives without the constant fear of judgement. I’m 26 and marriage is the last thing on my mind. I want to work, I want to travel, I want to live, but it isn’t that easy, is it?” – Sana Memon
“I am currently working in Internal Communication, I see myself in learning and development or as a HR Business Partner. I also want to be a motivational speaker and I am working on writing a self help book. The question is, do I pursue something in marketing communications as I have a master’s degree in that? I am really confused as to what career path I should take in order to be successful.” – Deepshikha
“I’m originally from Vizag, and I moved to Bangalore to study. I’m surprised that even though I live in a metro, which is known to be modern and liberal, I still have many restrictions to adhere by. I’m constantly told by my parents to study, not to go out too much, not to wear revealing clothes, and not to overdo it with my friends, even though I’m miles away from home. I believe that this is the beginning of my life and this is the time to explore different avenues and exercise my freedom. Everyone should have that.”
“I don’t understand why society is obsessed with the marital status of a girl. The first question your relatives ask you is why aren’t you married yet. You can be living a financially successful and peaceful life but all they would care about is whether you have found a husband by the right age! As someone who has been considering arranged marriage, I find the hypocrisy in society hilarious – men want ‘working’ women but they’d prefer if the woman would quit the job after marriage. Why is a woman’s career and ambition always given second preference?” – Pinky Mehta
“There is still a lot more that can be done for women’s safety in India. Where is the accountability for the Nirbhaya funds?”
“I feel I am privileged to belong to a family who hasn’t treated me different from my brother. I hear the experiences of my friends and contemporaries at their home, and it’s surprising. I feel lucky to have such amazing set of parents who have raised us equally. If anything, I think I am given more importance than my brother at home. I am lucky to have found a husband who is of the same nature.” – Bhanvi Chhabra Sachdeva
“As a fresher in the legal field, I feel like are judged not by our work, but by our gender. No matter how well you work, how good you are, your peers won’t give you the recognition or respect you deserve”.
“I’ve dabbled in various roles and jobs before. Right now, I have a good job, but I believe there is more to me than being a business analyst. I’m battling between the choice of stepping into an unknown role or staying in the safety of my nest.” – Manali Acharya
“Life is going through a major shift right now. It’s going from one chapter to the next. The thing is, I don’t have the next chapter written out, or even planned yet. There are big looming questions about applying for a PhD, or exploring the career path, or just taking off somewhere for a nice break from reality. I just have some good ol’ introspection to do.” – Viveka Jani
“I’ve been told that I have a RSF: Resting Smiley Face. I’ve always been friendly but sometimes I feel that need to be cautious. After all, if you smile too much you’re labelled a slut, and if you never do, you’re a bitch. How does one fight stereotypes like that?” – Maitri Kothari
“While talking about equality, we must understand that there are two kinds: equality of outcome and equality of opportunity. I believe women should have equal opportunity in every field that they want to pursue. However, demanding equality of outcome would be counterintuitive in a good society.”
“Women are often restricted from staying out late, or have a curfew at home, and we are told, ‘its for our betterment’ or ‘its not safe’. We know how to take care of ourselves. I am pretty sure that certain experiences do make us alert but then you should let us experience life and allow us to learn. It’s not about safety. It’s about trust. You have to trust that I am not going around at night doing ‘bad’ things and that I can take care of myself. Don’t stop us from having experiences in life. Just trust us.” – Swanandi Berde
“I work in the Marathi film industry and I only have one thing to say: Let’s be done with objectifying women. Like, Stop! It’s too much, it’s too played out. It’s too cliched. Right now, the mentality in the industry is that a movie will only work if there is an item number in it, or girls dancing in short clothes, etc. It’s now the time to stop denigrating women like this!” – Devika Manjrekar
“I think we need to change the mentality of people who think it’s okay to comment or judge people on what they wear. Everyone should be allowed to dress how they like! We are individuals, with our own unique tastes and fashion, and we should be allowed to dress according to how we feel, instead of society dictating what we should wear.” – Miss Palak
“I am a biochemical engineering student. I aspire to be a successful businessperson; to be financially independent. I hope to someday set up my own hospital or school for the underprivileged. Health and education are basic human rights and people should access to quality resources regardless of their caste, gender, race, or their annual income.” – Shachee Gohel