16 Days of Action to Eliminate Violence Against Women started on Friday, Nov. 25. We’re highlighting girls’ voices on social media throughout the 16 Days. Check out what Rishi has to say:
Living in Canada, we often believe ourselves to be above sexism. But are we really? As girls and young women, we’re told that “maybe engineering isn’t the right place for you to be, with all those smart boys. Do you really think you can compete with them?” We tell girls that they should be careful walking alone at night. We tell girls that they shouldn’t dress or behave in a certain way for fear of attracting the wrong type of attention.
Why do girls and women have to be the ones to be careful? Why do girls and women have to think twice about what they wear? Shouldn’t it be everyone’s responsibility to make women and girls – and all individuals – feel safe in their communities? We shouldn’t have to think twice about where we walk at night. We shouldn’t have to second guess what we choose to wear.
Why do we keep our girls from pursuing the careers they want? Yes, the glass ceiling does exist, and yes, there are many boys in engineering who believe they dominate in the field. All the more reason to prove that girls are just as strong and capable. We can show the world that we as girls and young women are just as good. We have every right to be there – in the science labs, in the corporate office, on Parliament Hill. End of discussion.
How can we change this?
We as a community of Girl Guides are doing so much to promote equal opportunities for females everywhere, whether it’s encouraging girls to explore STEM careers or strong leadership roles. The support we provide and receive in Guiding is invaluable. But we need to spread this positive message throughout society. We can do this by challenging gender roles in our everyday lives and not being afraid to stand up for what we believe in, and for our rights. That’s what I’ll be doing during the 16 Days of Action and every other day going forward – standing up for my rights as a young woman in Canada.
Guest post by Rishi Ilangomaran, who recently completed Rangers and is now studying to be an engineer at the University of Waterloo. She started as a Pathfinder in 2012 and in four short years, traveled to British Columbia and Mexico with Girl Guides, has been an active member of the Ontario Girl Forum, and has sold a significant number of cookies. She strongly prefers chocolatey mint to the classic flavour (especially when frozen :P).
Share your answers on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram in a visual way. Ideas: Hold up a speech bubble or write your answers on a whiteboard and post a photo. Or make a short video! Be sure to use hashtag #16days and tag us so we can share.