Paarth Madan

A medium to iterate on my own thoughts.


Posted at — Mar 9, 2021

It’s International Women’s Day.

In commemoration of the day, I’ll use this post to reflect.

This conversation is deep and complex – spanning many levels.

I’m going to focus this reflection on one tiny sliver of the inequities that I’ve come to understand.

The inequity of being able to exercise true, uninhibited freedom.

In my limited experience with life, I’ve observed differences in the amounts of freedom a man and woman are presented with.

I’d assume these differences originate at the differences that exist between boys and girls.

Granted, this is accentuated by being raised with South Asian values. It’s hard for me to deconflate where these differences sprout from, so I suppose it’s more correct that I refer to South Asian women in this reflection. Either way, it’s worth exploring.

I’ve come to absolutely love walking outside. Through walks I’ve discovered our world; through walks I’ve discovered myself.

I value my walks greatly, but then I often think about that parallel world where I was born and raised a girl. In that world, I wouldn’t share the same freedom as my current self.

I wouldn’t be able to exit my house in the wee hours of the morning, or take the car for a late night drive. I’d be raised to internalize the need to be safe and aware – at all times.

From anecdotal experience, I’ve understood a women’s constant process of being alert and on guard. Whether this comes from cultural values or a response to our society, I feel it’s valuable to make myself aware of this.

In the last year, I’ve learned the value of living in the present moment. To detach, and observe your environment and yourself as one.

How can you do this when you need to be constantly looking out, aware, on edge, and on guard? I’d imagine it’s a lot harder.

I find it disheartening to think that someone is missing out on the same opportunities to experience life because they’re a woman.

While I don’t think there’s an actionable, or tangible outcome of this realization – it’s important.

For me the realization sprouts at someone not being able to enjoy the beauty of a walk alone in a park. This has solidified my understanding of the matter on many other levels, though.

To realize there are girls who aren’t presented the same opportunities as boys. To realize the same society rewards the same work differently for no reason.

As a kid, my curiosity was paired with a growing, undeniable love for science.

I wonder how much of my childhood was shaped by our cultural attitudes.

Would I be in the same position if I was girl?

As I traverse the pivotal experiences that define my life, I wonder at how many phases there existed an inequity that further perpetuates upstream. That’s something to think about.

Tangentially: I tend to think about parenthood a lot. As I solidify the importance of women in my own life and iterate on my beliefs, I want to make sure I impart those same values to my children: girl or boy. (If it’s you kiddos, hopefully I’m doing a good job!)

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