I was invited to the TIFF 2015 premiere of He Named Me Malala directed by Davis Guggenheim. In the invitation email it said, “We believe your dedication to human rights reflects Malala’s and the film’s efforts in bringing awareness to human rights issues around the world.” Who? Me? My only thought after reading this email was how on earth did they find me and yes, I want to go. After accepting the invitation they asked me if I would be interested in doing a round-table interview with the director. It amazes me how some opportunities just come knocking on your door when you least expect them…Continue Reading
I’ve contemplated doing this for a long time but I was advised not to. Don’t make it about yourself, they said. As I advocate breaking the silence around violence against women, as I advocate to girls and women that they are enough, as I advocate following your heart; I feel like a farce being silent about my own journey.
As I begin to write this, I’m not sure exactly where to begin. It’s taken a long time for me to come to peace with my outer self and it’s a work in progress. Though my goal in life is to be a change maker and a thought leader. I still want to feel beautiful. As a feminist, I’m embarrassed to even admit that. There are 2 voices that live inside my head. The logical one that says, you’re a good person and your family, friends, partner have to love you for all that you are. For all your flaws, for all your strengths and weaknesses, for your quirks and scars, for your emotional baggage and your enormous heart that wants to help everyone and right every injustice…Continue Reading
On World AIDS Day, I want to share with you, the role of this disease in my life. I was a little girl when my mom started working for an NGO in India called CHELSEA. From what I understood she went to villages to educate women about safe sex, used to hand out free condoms and taught them how to sow in order to be financially dependent. I didn’t understand anything about AIDS but I knew it was an awful disease. A few years after we moved to Canada, my mom started doing the AIDS Walk in Toronto. It’s been 8 years and she has raised over 10,000 dollars for the cause…Continue reading
I recently returned from Thailand after working on an innovative social enterprise along the Thai-Burma border, and doing communications for Asia Pacific’s leading women’s rights network. From refugee women from Burma, to Mongolian sustainable development experts, to advocates in Papua New Guinea fighting violence against women, I came across diverse groups of women determined to achieve gender justice. My experience was an intense and eye-opening foray into the complex issues of women’s rights across the region, and the world…Continue reading
But Aren’t We All To Blame? (Delhi rape case)
This past month I have gone through varying degrees of shame, outrage, anger & helplessness. I fail to understand how a human being can be so inhumane. How can you treat another person with so much brutality? Jyoti Singh Pandey was raped 5 times, beaten up with an iron rod, stripped, thrown on the road and tried to be run over. And this happened in a city which I used to miss when I was away. I grew up here, and sadly this is not the first time something like this has happened. We see it on the news, get horrified and continue with our daily chores. But the Delhi gang rape changed a few things. Suddenly, a lot was at stake…Continue reading
I would not be who I am today if it were not for my 2 older sisters. They were among my first ‘real’ teachers. They made me aware of the power that education possesses in effecting change. As a child I struggled to read, write and be an individual. It was hard being the eccentric kid, who danced around the school yard or only wanted to play pretend instead of playing basketball in gym class. But my sisters and the many other women in my life, whom I regard as the greatest mentors any young boy could ever have, provided me with an unrelenting amount of encouragement and support. Today, I am a professional…Continue reading
Today marks the 25th anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling in favour of Dr. Morgentaler, Dr. Smoling, and Dr. Scott, which granted women’s true personal autonomy. This date holds special weight with me. Not just because I’m a woman, but also because I’m a nurse. One who has spent the bulk of her career as an abortion provider.
On this date each year, I wonder if our ancestors are happy with where women’s rights are now. Then I’m left wondering, why aren’t we there yet? I can’t speak for them, but I’m thrilled that I’m not criminalized as a nurse for providing safe abortions…Continue reading
Let’s celebrate this day but be clear about what we are celebrating and the steps we need to take to enhance the future of girl’s across the globe. We are making strides on fronts of education, child marriage, and female genital mutilation because of advocates/survivors like Malala Yousafzai, Ayaan Hirsi Ali and the organizations they support and represent. Girls Not Brides, Plan Canada, AHA Foundation and others have worked far and wide to change the lives of girls and their communities by advocating for better policies, implementing training programs, providing better access to schools and giving voice to the girls who are so often voiceless…Continue reading
I was early in my pregnancy when I was told that I was pregnant with a girl. I was elated, immediately I began day-dreaming: her first pro-choice march, her first Margaret Atwood novel, so much exciting stuff to share with a girl-child; that night I wrote in my journal: “I am growing a feminist”. I am sure you can imagine my shock when, 6 months later, I gave birth to a baby boy…Continue reading