Only recently COO Facebook Sheryl Sandberg took it to her official social media accounts to share a story of an inspirational girl from Pakistan, Eesha Afridi.
Sandberg interviewed the young lady, and her story goes as follows:
Three weeks after Eesha started medical school in Karachi, Pakistan, her city went on lockdown due to Covid-19.
First year students from my medical university were given the opportunity to volunteer in the isolation ward,
It was considered a great opportunity. However, only boys were selected. –Eesha recalls.
Unfortunately for Eesha and many other girls in Pakistan, this was not the first time they had been confronted with a situation that cost them opportunities because of gender biases.
Eesha Afridi’s Responds To Gender Biasess:
To break stereotyping against women because of their gender, Eesha decided to start a ‘Lean In Youth Circle‘. This circle is for boys and girls who share the same vision as she does.
I think we can only strive for change by engaging the youth of both genders. During the lockdown, people are having to deal with gender roles at home more often.
Boys need to understand that they have to help their mother and sisters out, just as girls need to understand that they can say no and ask for help from men.
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Three weeks after @eeshaafridi started medical school in Karachi, Pakistan, her city went on lockdown due to Covid-19. “First year students from my medical university were given the opportunity to volunteer in the isolation ward,” Eesha recalls. “It was considered a great opportunity. However, only boys were selected.” It wasn’t the first time Eesha had encountered gender bias. In 9th grade, a teacher told her parents she was “always bossy, especially around boys” because she’d taken the lead on a group project. When she expressed interest in studying law, she was told that there was no space for women lawyers in Pakistan. Eesha’s grandfather had given her a copy of Lean In, and she ended up reading it during lockdown. “A lot of points spoke to me,” she says. “I realized a lot of stereotypes and gender roles that I thought only existed in my society were actually a global problem. I was encouraged to do something about it.” She decided to start a Lean In Youth Circle – and she invited boys to join as well as girls. “I think we can only strive for change by engaging youth of both genders,” she explains. “During lockdown, people are having to deal with gender roles at home more often. Boys need to understand that they have to help their mother and sisters out, just as girls need to understand that they can say no and ask for help from men.” The Pakistani Youth Circle has had five meetings so far, with both boys and girls sharing stories. One conversation stood out to Eesha. “When I talked about aunties asking me to lose weight, someone else said they were criticized for being too skinny. We realized a lot of our normal talk was bullying. Since all of us had been bullied in different situations irrespective of our gender, we committed to learn and do better in the future.” Eesha is proud of everyone who’s come forward to participate in the Youth Circle. “I know I won’t be able to single-handedly stop gender inequality,” she says. “However, I want to at least let those around me become aware of these problems and recognize them as barriers that stop girls and women from leaning in toward their goals.” Eesha, thank you so much for starting that conversation.
Kudos to young women and men like Eesha, who have decided not to compromise!
Stay tuned to Brand Voice for more updates.