From fighting for the right to vote to demanding equal pay, every decade defines a new call for action and milestone for women’s rights. For International Women’s Day, we asked women of Indian origin to reflect on what their hopes are for the movement for the next ten years and what gender equality might look like in 2030. Here’s what they said:
Kruti Arora, 37, Marketing professional and entrepreneur, Mumbai
We can all have a unified voice on equal pay and better opportunities for women, but that seems like a utopian idea at best when we haven’t even been able to address something as basic as toilets [for women] in rural areas [in countries like India]. We haven’t been able to shake off deep-seated unconscious biases that we as women experience with every cup of tea made or when we decide what dinner will be tonight for the family. So, by 2030, what I do hope to see is a crumbling down of mindsets that embrace this version of our narrative. I hope we can overcome the idea that the roles we inherit are not ours to carry forward.
Madhuri Sastry, 31, Writer, Brooklyn
I don’t feel optimistic about what the next decade will bring, given the direction and pace of progress today. I think we will still be struggling with making progress on important measures of gender equality like access to education, political representation, and gender-based violence. I desperately want to be able to envision a world where women and non-binary folk feel safe occupying public spaces and at work, but that seems like a utopia.
“I hope that, in the context of gender-based violence, we begin to believe survivors.”
[By 2030], I hope that we make progress in political representation by which I mean real intersectional representation, not tokenism. I hope that female-identifying people have access to healthcare and contraception. I hope that [we can] move past a heteronormative discourse once and for all, and actualize our ideal of equal pay for equal work. I hope that, in the context of gender-based violence, we begin to believe survivors. [I hope we can] dismantle toxic masculinity to be able to better address sexual violence faced by men.
Nikita Naik, 25, Bartender, social media and content coordinator, Melbourne
[Gender inequality] has been holding us back for way too long and we are unable to concentrate our energies on fighting other more pervasive evils. My mom once told me, “You are fighting for the same rights that my generation thought we already won,” and I would hate to see the next generation of women fighting the same battles ten years down the line.
The gender equality goal I hope to see achieved by 2030 is parental leave for men. I have noticed there is still a stigma in certain cultures about men staying home to take care of their children, which harms their mental health and their spouses’ careers. There are a few companies making an active effort to incorporate paternity leave in employees’ contracts, but we still have a long way to go.
Sai Sailaja Seshadri, 22, Editor, New York City
I would love to be able to say that we’ll achieve complete gender equality in every region of the world by 2030, but unfortunately, I don’t think we’ll be quite there yet. However, this is how I think [it] will look: More women in leadership positions, and as a result, we’ll see more safety and opportunities for women in the workplace. I think we’ll also see more women fighting back against expectations put on them [like] getting married early and having kids.
“I think we’ll also see more women fighting back against expectations put on them [like] getting married early and having kids.”
I think the most important part of gender equality that we’ll achieve in ten years is women speaking up, supporting each other and standing up for each other.
The two major things that I would like to see by 2030 are rapists being held accountable for their actions, and better access to education for young girls. Lack of education leaves them financially dependent on another person which can lead to them being vulnerable and in many cases, become victims of domestic abuse.
Aarya Sinha, 17, Student, Indonesia
A cynical part of me thinks that things won’t change much and that ten years down the line women will continue to fight, for the same reasons as today, and the same reasons as a century ago. But by 2030, I think there will be a generation of children brought up understanding the purpose and meaning of gender equality.
A goal that I hope to see achieved by 2030 is access to reproductive health. Women and girls can be saved from so many illnesses and possible death that results from bad reproductive and sexual health. Another goal that I hope to see achieved, however impossible it may seem, is an end to violence against women, be it honour killings, sexual assault, trafficking or harassment. These goals are [important]in the emancipation and empowerment of women.