Emails from mom:
“When I was in 4th grade, I came home one day and saw posted on the gates outside a foreclosure notice. When I went inside, the notices were also posted in the yard, on the house’s door, even on our piano inside. Dad was not home, and Mom sat there looking lost. I went over to her and cried holding her. (I only knew something was wrong and cried out of fright). I didn’t go to school for a while, following Mom in and out of the house, and learned that … the banks had further limited our daily bank withdrawals…. Before I was born, your uncles and auntie had very tough lives, they never wore new clothes, everything was used, with no distinction for gender. Grandmother’s family [was better off and] helped out a little. I often used the excuse of seeing Grandmother’s family to go over and eat apples and oranges. Grandfather’s career was devoted to politics. He never lost an election, but … his focus was on getting elected and constituents – a lot of responsibility fell upon Grandmother to take care of family matters, political pr, business. When I grew up, I didn’t want to marry a politician or businessman, but to have a peaceful life. But I also didn’t want to have too many hardships. When I married a professor, I hoped that Grandfather might help us financially. Grandfather helped by giving us the money to help build the house. Sadly, he passed away before it was completed, and Grandmother became mindless after Grandfather died.
I am grateful I was born in the right family, but I also regret not having contributed to society.” Sent from my iPhone
January 11, 2016
April 8, 2016
My mom once lamented the fact that, at all the dinner gatherings, the husbands sat at the men’s table, and the wives sat at the women’s table. The husbands talked about politics, business, and world events. The wives passed gossip. Mom found the women’s table incredibly boring – she yearned to sit with the men, and learn about the politics, business, and affairs of the world.
I know that if I ever have a daughter, I want her to grow up able to sit at any table she wants to. I want her to have the equality of opportunities from childhood, to be able to forge her own path without being subject to stereotypes and prejudice, and to grow up to become an adult who is treated as an equal at any table.
Some women may gain empowerment by advertising their boobs. That’s fine. But I believe that the best path for any daughter of mine will come by fighting to remove institutional barriers to women’s equality, combined with educating the individual mind. And that a better measure of #empowerment isn’t the amount of attention one attracts, but how much (after balancing enjoying the world with improving the world) one has left to give.
‘I remember 20 years ago not eating so my daughter would eat. I remember nights when there was literally no money. I would have done anything to work and I took as much work as I could…. I am now able to #give….
In her 20s, she worked for Amnesty International and Christian Aid. Maybe there is a bit of her DNA which is wired to fight injustice. ‘I have this quotation by #EBWhite on the wall in the room where I write,’ says Rowling. ‘It says, “I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.”