‘Maa, If I Change My Name From Sheetal To Shekhar, Would You Let Me Study More?’

Posted on October 15, 2016 in Video

By Richa Hingorani:

“But, she’s a girl.”

A few words have cut short the flight of many dreams that fluttered in the hope of rising one day. Uttered too often, these words loom large over her goals and aspirations causing them to recoil – perhaps never to return again. What is repeated often, unfortunately, sometimes is accepted as gospel. She stutters to adjust her dreams to fall in line with what’s expected of her. Her true potential is buried under norms, beliefs, and stereotypes. Her gender does not determine her potential, then why do we implicitly allow stereotypes to hover over her dreams? When dreams don’t discriminate, then why should we?

Growing up a girl is extremely challenging in many countries. Often losing out to their male siblings, girls in India are 75% less likely to survive in the first five years of life, and one-third of the world’s child brides are from India. Alarmingly, 41% of girls do not make it to class 8 in school, and nine out of ten girls enrolled do not complete secondary school.

While there are multiple socio-economic and geopolitical reasons for discrimination against girls and women, gender norms and stereotypes reinforced over generations are at the root of the problem. The pervasive son preference limits the perception of girls’ primary role being that of wives, mothers-in-waiting, or an extra pair of earning hands.

The campaign, We Dream, We Rise, produced by Girl Rising India, calls attention to these age-old stereotypes that have gone unquestioned for years. We Dream, We Rise is currently being distributed by the Ministry of Women and Child Development across cinema halls and hits your television screens year end.


Weaning away from stereotypes, and allowing girls to dream big for themselves requires a shift in the mindset, behaviour, and attitudes. Each one of us has the power to help dismantle these norms that have gone unquestioned for years. To dream is to imagine, to dream is to build a future – a luxury that should transcend gender.

Join the campaign by simply writing your dreams on your palms and sharing a photograph tagging @GirlRisingIndia using #WeDreamWeRise. For more information, head over to their website or follow them on their social media channels.