In celebration of Women’s History Month, we want to introduce you to some women who are making history right now within Reconciled World. Balini* works tirelessly on behalf of girls and women with our Ending Gendercide project in India. We asked her to share her story:
I was born & brought up in a Christian family. Though I was not discriminated against in matters of food, education or my upkeep, I grew up in a culture of son preference. I was taught the stereotyped roles of women and men in the family. Cooking, cleaning, caring for family members and all household chores were for girls to do, while boys could roam around and play as they liked. Many a times I was punished by my mother because I played and did things like my brother. I was taught that I have to go someone’s home after marriage. The land properties which were bought by my parents were bought in the name of my brother. The mindset behind it was, if it is bought in a daughter’s name the property will go off to another family with the daughter, but if it is in the son’s name it will remain in the family. However, I didn’t marry, and now have no parental property to stay or cultivate. If my brother or his sons wish, they can kick me out any time. So, I am a landless woman.
Why do you choose to work with Ending Gendercide?
I was working on the dignity and rights of women and had the opportunity to work with one of the Ending Gendercide team members on a project. I found a similar minded person. So when he invited me to work with Ending Gendercide (EG), I didn’t have a second thought. I joined.
As a woman, what can you contribute to this work that is unique?
I don’t know whether it will be unique or not, but I stand for women’s right. Until my last breath, I will help other women to know their self worth and help men to value women equally.
What changes have you seen in yourself through your work with EG?
In my life I lost trust in men, but now I feel there are men who can be trusted. This has happened because of my four male colleagues who have valued me, have accepted me the way I am and are with me in my journey.
What are the biggest challenges or barriers to your work?
Few are with me in this journey. It feels like the rest of the world is against me. So every step is risky. But, someone has to break the boundary and cross it. So, I will break the boundary and move forward.
What keeps you going?
My pain and the love of Christ keep me going. I may be ignored, pulled down or never be considered of value, but the fact that God has borne much more pain than me keeps me going.
What words of wisdom would you give to other young women who want to have a positive impact in the world?
Girls and women, it is not just your appearance that is unique. You are unique. Your whole being is unique. Never compare yourself with others. Find out who you are within. Respect yourself rather than trying to seek respect from others. Because no one will know you the way you will know yourself. You are the unique creation of God. Live for God and not for humans.
*Names are changed for security reasons.