For all the talk about gender equality, the truth is that being a woman is very different in reality, full of everyday struggles that some people might not be aware of until they’re pointed out. That’s what Twitter user Gayatri wanted to show the world with her viral thread where she asked women to tell her they’re women “without telling me you’re a woman.”
Gayatri, from Mumbai in India, caught people’s attention with her to-the-point and no-nonsense thread. She opened up by saying that she’s always on the lookout for “escape routes” whenever she’s walking in a dark alley. Other women pitched in with their experiences and Gayatri added a few more of her own. Gayatri told Bored Panda that she routinely talks about women's life and workplace experiences on Twitter. "I started this thread as a way for women to share their experiences and the prejudices they face in everyday life. The answers showed that women all over the country and world even had the same experiences. We fought the same battles."
Scroll down a read through the responses to Gayatri's thread and our interview with her, dear Pandas. What did you think of the thread? How would you answer her question? What do you think can be done to change the situation? Let us know in the comments. Gayatri’s fears aren’t unfounded. The situation with women’s rights in India is shocking, writes The Guardian, and both women and girls are frequently victims of violence.
According to Gayatri, one of the things that the responses to her thread showed is that rights and reality are two very different things. "Instead of asking women what needs to change about women's rights, I think what needs to change is the perception of men. Women are still looked at as inferior beings who need to be told what to do and how to live every single day," she said.
"Men need to actively listen to women, overcome their biases and age-old mental conditioning, and treat women as equals. These discourses are being labeled feminism and the women who talk about this, feminists. But if you think about it, all women want is to left alone and not be told by men how to lead their lives."
However, there are problems in the West, as well. Writer and founder of ‘Voice of Salam,’ Elizabeth Arif-Fear told Bored Panda that women face sexist attitudes, harassment, and barriers to entry because of their gender both in the workplace and outside of it.
Her solutions to these issues is to continue to “dismantle gender-based stereotypes about gender roles,” push for “full parity in dividing unpaid work at home with their partners,” and report incidents of harassment and “illegal questioning of their marital status in job interviews.”
According to Arif-Fear, these kinds of actions will help in continuing the work toward “smashing the glass ceiling” that women face.
“Ladies, you can do it! Please believe in yourself!” she said. “Likewise, partners need to do their share at home, colleagues should check their attitudes (e.g. sexist comments), not mansplain in meetings, and managers and employers should ensure that they are creating fair equal opportunities and spaces at the table. Consideration for those with childcare responsibilities is also important.”