As Father’s Day is approaching, we have not only been thinking about the perfect gift to express our gratitude towards the paternal figures in our lives. The day inspires us to reflect upon the influence a positive dad role model has played in our lives, upbringing and worldview. From little things like teaching us how to drive to bigger ones like building confident in our skillset, the role of our fathers is quite powerful in the life of any woman.
We asked our team members to share ways in which they witnessed their fathers challenging traditional gender-based stereotypes growing up. Their input is a valuable source to turn to when you want to fathom the importance of your father-figure in your life.
Aisha Saraf Kothari
Valuing skills over gender
“When I went to university or started my first job, that’s when I heard about all these conversations about gender stereotypes and glass ceiling,” says Aisha. You may wonder, how did she not realise it earlier?
Aisha grew up with a loving father who treated her and her sister with respect. As he himself didn’t apply gender-focused stereotypes for his daughters at home, there was never an opportunity to have a difficult conversation about the outside world. “I never had opportunities based on gender,” Aisha reflects. “It was opportunities based on my skills.”
“Today, I actually realise how fortunate I was and wanted to bring about that change myself.”
Parishi Shah Jogani
Shaping her self-confidence
“My dad played a huge role in who I’ve grown up to be,” says Parishi. “I’ve learnt to be really independent, to believe in myself and to be super confident.”
She credits him greatly for building up her character and for encouraging her to go after what she wants. Against the typically portrayed attitude of Indian parents discouraging their daughters to take up sports or activities, Parishi’s dad always offered his support.
“He encouraged me to be financially independent, educate myself and be professionally ambitious,” she says. His trust in her has been a watering factor of her flourishing self-belief and confidence.
Antigua Rose Koekemoer
Deep, honest conversations
“My dad and I have been able to have super deep, philosophical conversations with one another,” she says. This encouraged her to be open to the world and gave her the unique ability to listen to others without judgement.
“I really appreciated that I could bring anything to him and he won’t judge or criticise me.” More than just a dad, he is truly her friend.
”My dad has really been an amazing one,” says Janet as she opens up. “He always treats my brothers and myself equally.”
She recognises that her father had the same way of communicating with her brothers and her, there was no gender discrimination in her home. He encouraged her to pursue an academic field of her choice, that wasn’t based on her gender but rather her interests. “Study whatever you want to,” she quotes him. “You’re capable of doing anything.”
Growing up, Alice saw her father actively challenger gender stereotypes in everyday life. “He did the housework–he cooked, he cleaned and did the laundry,” she says. He wasn’t afraid of being involved in the housework despite it being thought of as a typically female-centric errand.
“My dad has been an amazing role model when it comes to gender roles,” explains Alice. This has allowed her to overcome them as well and question things she deems necessary.
AiSPi Graphic Designer,
Defying traditional gender roles
Aditi SehgalAiSPi Marketing,
Aditi’s father has been an excellent and inspiring role model of pursuing his interests and striving for personal growth. Even if his schedule was busy with work responsibilities, he would not compromise his time spent to nurture his soul and cultivate his personal interests that included painting, cooking, playing instruments and more. As Aditi calls it, it is a ”desire to learn for yourself” that is so inspiring.
An appreciation for style
“Interestingly enough, my father has been the one to possibly pass on an inherent appreciation for aesthetics and style. I can always trust him to choose admirable presents for me and my brother and him to be a best-dressed.”
AiSPi Marketing Manager,
Fairness and equality
Malvika admits to have many reasons to call her dad her role model ”but more than anything for his kindness, selflessness and [being] the most caring person who has a heart of gold”. As she adds, she has been very fortunate to grow up in a family where her and her brother received equal treatment and no discrimination from their dad based on gender, something that goes against the norm in the majority of Indian households.