“For centuries in China, the birth of a daughter brought tears to a mother’s eyes, not tears of joy, but of shame…”
As I was working on my documentary “Rise of the Phoenix” about the gender bias issues in China, it suddenly dawned on me that many countries are confronting the same issue: a women’s worth. In many countries, the cultural perception of the worth of a daughter is far less than a son — and the women themselves often accept that notion without questioning. Therefore a daughter may not ask why she is not sent to school for an education, but her brother is.
Case in point, many Chinese mothers aborted their baby fetus as soon as they knew it’s a girl because of the One Child Policy. By the same token, they abandoned their own daughters in orphanages because of social and familial pressures. This is played out in India, Africa, Middle East and other parts of the world — women are told that they are not worthy and are treated as second-class citizens.
As many women are empowered to do great things through education, Internet and personal striving, there is still a large contingency left-behind in rural villages and god-forsaken areas following the same tired traditions passed on through many generations. Gender awareness must be raised to tell women that their purposes are more than giving birth and raising families. Mothers should start telling their daughters they are worth the price of gold. Women should start telling themselves that they are worthy and can do anything a man can do. They should push back oppressive traditions that sentenced them to a life of servitude and silent suffering They should stop dependent on men on livelihood and stop perpetuating the same inflictions on their daughters under the guise of ignorance or pragmatism. More important, mothers should educate their sons to respect and treat women as equal — a concept not hard to get, but somehow got lost in tangles of cultural baggage.
We all know a mother is the first and best teacher for her children, until she reaffirms her daughter’s worth and gives her the power to question and fight for her rights, then she can change her destiny. Let us help all mothers to be so.