Girl power


Girl power

I have always been in awe of women who overcome hardships and turn out to be successful.

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Published: Fri 25 Dec 2015, 12:37 PM

Last updated: Fri 1 Jan 2016, 11:23 AM

There's something about the term empowerment that gets me worked up. As spectacularly exemplified by the women in How to be a Superwoman (Dec 18), empowerment happens when you follow your dreams and pursue your passions. All the successful women featured in wknd. have used their talents and abilities in constructive ways, not only to benefit themselves, but also those around them.
I have always been in awe of women who overcome hardships and turn out to be successful. My grandmother is one such woman. Having raised her four children by herself (my grandfather passed away a year after their fourth child), she never stopped for a moment; using all her available resources, she led a simple life and ensured she gave her children everything they needed.
Today, one of her sons is an engineer with the Indian Navy, another is in the Indian Army working towards getting an MBA, the third (having previously been in the Indian Airforce) is currently a lawyer and politician, and runs a school back in his village.
My mother - grandma's youngest daughter - is an educator here in the UAE, but beyond that, one of the best mums out there! And her children's success is testimony to how my grandmother is now an empowered woman. Empowerment is the result of necessity, action, dedication - it's not just about what you've achieved, it is also about what you have helped others become.
» She's the man
The article How to be a Superwoman (Dec 18) fittingly portrayed how within every ordinary woman lies the strength of a superhero. While some women discover their true potential at an early age, others need a bit more time. And I want to make it clear that it is not superpowers that help women prepare breakfast before 9am every day, get to work with lightning speed, find the time for all other tasks and somehow manage to look top-notch throughout their crazy schedule. Instead, that is more the result of hours of practice and hard work.
The world we live in needs to find and bring to light the achievements of women such as Malala Yousafzai, Rosa Parks and Aung Sang Suu Kyi - women who prove that it is possible to be good mothers, daughters, wives and sisters while also inspiring tens of thousands of people and making the world a better place. It is only when we learn to be bold, take a leap of faith and walk paths no one else has trodden,  that we can break through societal barriers and make it possible for other women to showcase their achievements. Though often mentioned, women's empowerment is just a term. It is women who give it meaning and power, by living ordinary lives in extraordinary ways.
All of us are tethered to the chains of society's norms and a long list of expectations that are impossibly confusing, but we ultimately have the power to free ourselves from its hold. When that time comes, don't worry about having the courage to be different - it is already present within us all. All we have to do is let it out. Like the women in the story.
Gadha Maria Sebastian, by email 
» Lessons from the wild
It is true that dreams and determination is what takes you places, something the article Life is a Safari exemplified (Dec 18). Every single one of Geoffrey Kent's adventures speaks volumes about his zeal and enthusiasm, and his positive outlook in life. I admired the fact that he stood by his ethos 'shoot with a camera and not with a gun'. This is a self-made man who achieved everything he wanted. But what really resonated with me is that even after achieving success, he is still on a mission to spread awareness about animal protection. I look forward to his novel Safari, which I think will make for an interesting read - especially if it contains more secrets like the truth about Abercrombie!
Seema Shelat, via email
» Master performers
Through the highs and lows, both Salman Khan and Deepika Padukone have proved to the film industry that they are here to stay (Entertainers of the Year, Dec 18). Salman Khan came with a bang by redoing movies that were raging hits in the south. He is at a stage in his career where people come to watch him even if it is for only a few minutes, like in Hello, based on One Night at a Call Centre by Chetan Bhagat. Despite the cameo, fans of Salman Khan rushed to the cinema hoping to see more of him.
 Deepika, meanwhile, has paved a new way for actresses by being increasingly vocal about her thoughts, ideas and personal life. It is inspiring to see that, like every normal person, she goes through stress and depression during troubled times. Because of the popularity of these actors, the strategy of directors has changed. Now, even if a script is weak and the movie poorly made, just the presence of these actors is all it takes to ensure that directors get their money back!
Aparna Jeyaraman, via email

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