Aastha shares how her leadership journey with Women LEAD has helped her learn how to be comfortable in her own skin.
This post was written by Aparna Singh, Women LEAD’s Programs and Communications Associate.
Aastha, 17, strongly believes that gender discrimination in Nepal should be ended. She adds that girls are not getting the chance to become independent with societal boundaries that compel them to stay at home after marriage. Aastha, who is currently a management student at Everest College aspires to become an IT Professional in the near future. Read more about Aastha on our interview below:
Why did you join Women LEAD?
The reason for me to join Women LEAD was to achieve leadership skills, improve my personality, gain knowledge about communication styles, control over my fear, nervousness and become an inspiring leader.
What is the one thing that you love about Women LEAD?
The one thing that I love the most about Women LEAD is the homely environment where I get to meet young girls of my age from different places. I just feel like we are one big family.
What are the positive changes that you have had since you joined Women LEAD?
After joining Women LEAD, I started to respect myself. Before I used to underestimate myself but I realized that if we respect ourselves, people will respect us. So I have now started to speak good things about myself. For instance, earlier people often made fun of my dark complexion and I used to feel inferior about it. But Women LEAD taught me to be comfortable in my own skin. So now, when people comment on my complexion, I tell them that there is nothing wrong in being dark and that they need to look beyond one’s outer appearance.
How do you feel is the status of girls and women in our society and what do you think should be done to change that?
The status of girls and women in our society is not so good. Yes, it’s improving but just in the urban areas. In the villages, girls are still kept in the cow shed during their periods and there is still preference for a son rather than a daughter. Women are not getting the opportunities to reach their full potential because they of societal rules that compel them to discontinue work after marriage. We need to change people’s perception by becoming good leaders and proving ourselves to the world.
What is the one issue that you really care about and want to change in your community and how is Women LEAD helping you achieve that?
The one issue I care the most is the attitude of people towards the rape victims. I want people to empathize with them and understand their pain instead of blaming the victims. I want society to give them helping hands instead of ostracizing them. I am taking small steps to create change. Through Women LEAD, I learned to speak up in public for right things. I believe that if we start creating change in an individual level, then together, we can definitely make a big impact.