When Tajamul wanted to take up kickboxing, her father tried to dissuade her telling her it’s a rough sport and she might get hurt. She persisted promising him that she’ll be better than all the boys. At 7 Tajamul fulfilled that promise by becoming the youngest sub-junior national kickboxing champion. She defeated her 13-year-old opponent to win the title in the 2015 national finals and will represent India in the International Kickboxing Championships in Italy this November. Today Tajamul’s father is not only proud of her daughter but hopes that her daughter will help change people’s attitudes towards girls and sports in her native Kashmir. The trailblazer hails from the remote Bandipora where opportunities for girls are very limited.
Tajamul has broken every stereotype pertaining to young girls and sports. She excels at a contact sport which requires skill, hard training and a lot of physical strength. She trains five hours every day besides studying and pursuing her other love–dancing.
While Tajamul is breaking stereotypes and achieving excellence in sports, However, there is another side of the story.
Khushboo, an 11-year-old from Uttar Pradesh is struggling to even have a play and study time. Being raised in a patriarchal family, she spends her time doing household chores and fulfilling her role as a young mother to her 8-year-old brother Shani. Shani has been brought up to think that women and girls have to do all the household chores, a norm in patriarchal families in India. He will grow up to think that while a man earns money for the house, a woman has to stay back and nuture and take care of the house and family.
Ironically, most of the Indian women and women too ascribe to this notion themselves – be it in rural or urban India. A Nielsen India study conducted in urban Indian households states that over two-thirds of Indian women feel, there exists inequality in household chores at home.
Performing household chores is perceived to be a feminine quality. How many have we heard men priding themselves in never stepping into a kitchen in their childhood? How many times have we witnessed a working woman going back home, and getting on with the household chores while the husband relaxes?
These prescribed gender roles ensures that both girls and boys never learn how to be an equal contributing member at home.