In our film, you met Senna, a teenager from Peru who attended school against all odds. There, she developed a love for poetry.
Now, meet Shilpa Deshpande. Shilpa is from India - where we happen to be growing a country-wide movement for girls. Shilpa, like Senna, also writes poetry rich with emotion and impact.
“When a woman voices against such patriarchy she is blamed to be self-centered,” Shilpa says about gender inequality in her country. “Why should a girl get educated, improve upon herself and just sit at home when she can contribute to the society?”
Shilpa uses poetry to speak up for all of the strong women across the world and invite men - husbands, brothers and fathers - to see the role they play in female empowerment. She wants every woman to dare to dream - and to pursue those dreams.
Read her poem below. Be inspired to speak up for girls. We promise it’s worth a few moments of your time.
I am the woman you call the weaker sex, the fairer gender
Please can I now voice myself
I’m a woman…So what?
Doesn’t mean marriage is the first page of my biography
I came into existence with my birth
I do not come into existence only after your name becomes mine
Cause I too have a History.
I have my dreams, my ambitions
I have gone through my own share of troubles too
I stand on my feet today and the path’s been arduous
and the least you can do in the honor of my struggle is to accept this fact.
I have a history too.
I have slogged to get to where I am now
whether its my career or my personal development.
Late nights, yes, I have seen them too.
I have had my share of hardships, I’d reached a nadir and then rose to the times when I’ve been extolled.
Do not obliterate all this as I marry you.
Please know I have a long history too.
I too have my parents, my mentors, my friends and family
Who expect to see me reach the goal for which I had to leave them behind me.
I’m sure its the same with you.
Expectations of people cringing on you.
Hopes in their eyes glittering at you
and whenever you felt conceded, these expectations and hopes kept you leading, to reach at the stature you are today
Didn’t it all mean anything to you?
Well yeah..So I too have the same history as you.
All the years I have ardently offered to this quarter of my life to stand by myself and stand on my feet
Have wiped away the trivial boundaries of region, religion, and every frontier which restricts oneself from becoming wise
of which gender is the least
So when I am being tied in a bond of love, a bond beyond every boundary, with you
Please do not lay the snare on me, of choosing between you and my dream
Excuse me from the old tenet that every girl and woman was taught
That a woman is meant to cook the fish that her man will snag on the hook.
Please respect my life - All that I have lived so far
My worries, my struggles, my victories and defeat
Accept me the way I am along with my dreams
and be assured self-dependence is not compassion’s antonym
All men say they wanna make me their Queen
But will you be the man with a heart of King
Will you hold my hand and make me stand back on my feet
when the world smudges my dream with the soot that I am a lady and my priority is home, not going to work in a suit
And when I am trying hard to make them comprehend that I can give both the worlds the best I have
Promise me their ludicrous talk won’t alter your perception would you stand by me my King
I’m not expecting too much but won’t you be strong and let them know that you love to see me stand on my feet and are proud to see me pursue my dream…