Taking One Step at a Time at Daayitwa
n-a Smriti Joshi , 12th August,2020


The question about who I am has always bothered me. My life has always been revolving around fulfilling the roles and titles that other people have given me. Perhaps, it is because nobody asked what I wanted, and I complied and did what I was told to do. I thought to be obedient would assure my conformity in society, but the vicious circle of expectation never stopped. I get questioned, get patronized about my choices and dreams. This feeling of being trapped changed something inside me. For the first time, I want to devise social constructs and follow my heart. I wanted to be visible, heard, and be understood.

I tried moving forward, thinking I had the liberty to finally choose the path that I wanted to pursue. I failed terribly in the job market again. I devolve endlessly, and I was distraught. I realized the failure to adapt to the job market was due to a lack of specialization. I had two choices: 1. to work towards addressing the discrepancy or 2. avoid it completely. I chose the former. 

The good things happen when you expect the least and suddenly, I had the opportunity to go to Norway for my higher studies where I had the chance to address my discrepancies. Now after completion of my study, I wanted to unwind the path that I once thought was impossible to attain. Since my studies were related to identifying the underlying problem behavior and design policies to improve systematic behavior. I am motivated to work towards bringing systematic change and work for the welfare of the people in society. Especially, I am compassionate to work with the upliftment of the women who are usually repressed in our society. Even in this contemporary time, women are still abused, objectified, discriminated against health, education, race, ethnicity, marital status, parental property rights, and so on. They are excluded from decision-making which impedes them to strive for a better future. Even though there is a dire need to change the situation, fewer women are voicing against it and I know even if there are policies and systems in place, gender oppression will not be eliminated but taking smaller steps will bring the tantalizing possibilities.

I am now exploring my passion through Daayitwa fellowship so that I can learn and inject fresh perspective about development practices that influence the status of women. I have been placed in the Ministry of Women, Children, and Senior Citizen to ‘Map the Skill of Rural Women Entrepreneurs’. Since last month I have been researching the possibilities of how rural women can improve their livelihood standard and status in society. Even though rural women are the mainstay of the household and community, they still face adversities even to fulfill their socially defined roles. They are poor and vulnerable, and they are not aware of their rights and entitlement. Their contribution is recognized as unpaid and they often do not have sufficient savings and assets to support themselves. Empowering rural women by providing ‘Entrepreneurial Skill’ can be a major stride in transforming the lives of these rural women.

No doubt empowering women will go a long way and now it is high time that we start breaking the glass ceilings to realize the true potential of women. For now, I am taking one step at a time through Daayitwa Public Policy Fellowship to connect the dots to accomplish my mission.

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