BY ARMEN HOTHI and JAADBIR DHATT
Grade 12 students, Tamanawis Secondary, Surrey
DESPITE the fact that we are living in the 21st century, sexism is an issue that never seems to be coming to a halt, especially in the South Asian community. Why? No one has really been able to pinpoint it. Is it because of the mentality South Asian men have been brought up with for the past couple decades? Is it because most South Asian women are so heavily dependent on their husbands, or are just assumed to depend on the dominant male figure in their lives? Or is it simply because that is the way it has always been?
There are so many possibilities as to why South Asian women are considered less worthy than the men, but the main reason is power. We believe that sexism is something that our world has no space for. The sad truth is that women have progressed in today’s society just as much as men and are capable of doing everything to the best of their abilities without any support, but they are still considered to be weak and vulnerable.
Going back to our roots and heritage all the way in India, since the beginning of time, men in the South Asian community have been taught that women are subservient, that they should live to please the male figures in their household, and should never have the audacity to speak up for their rights and express their opinions. That mentality has always been that the male is the dominant figure whose job is to protect the female. This “protection” has turned into a power battle and often ends with the male controlling the female as they think they have more authority because they are the “protector,” and the protector has more power. This form of thinking has become a permanent mindset in the South Asian community and has been passed down for generations. As a result of this, it has also been brought into our South Asian society in Canada.
This is wrong; it is time for change. Male or female, everyone deserves the right to be treated equally. It’s time to educate our community and stand up for women’s rights. Our society is based on stay-at-home mothers with minimal education, spending their lives taking care of the family, and constricted to only doing things that their husbands permit them to.
Looking back in time, in the Sikh culture, in the early 1700s, Mai Bhago was a Sikh woman who led 40 Sikh men against the Mughals. If way back then, women could fight and fend for themselves, why does society think that they aren’t capable of doing so now? Nowadays we have more modernized technology, democratic governments and better education; so we shouldn’t be taking a step back but moving forward. We need to treat women as equal to men, not bring them down. Women are strong, independent leaders with voices that are yearning to be heard.
Our hope is for society to change, for our upcoming generations to get educated and realize that both genders need to work together and be strong together rather than constantly having women being oppressed. We are deciding to make a change in our community, by showing the world that us women are empowered and can have more success than just being housewives. We (Jaadbir Dhatt and Armen Hothi) are going to make a change in society.
This fall, Jaadbir will be starting her Bachelors of Criminology degree at SFU in hopes of becoming a law enforcement officer. Armen will also be starting her Bachelors of Criminology degree at SFU in pursuit of her dreams of one day becoming a criminal lawyer. We believe in ourselves, and we also believe in the women in our South Asian community. It’s time for change. It’s time for both genders to unite.