Will I Raise a Son Like Harvey Weinstein

#MeToo – a hashtag determined to prove that tens of thousands of women across the world have a Harvey Weinstein in their lives; a power mongering predator who uses coercion, deception, manipulation, or force for their own sexual gratification.

#MeToo – a hashtag that united the victims from all walks of life, validated their pain and endorsed their right to safety.

#MeToo – a hashtag that got men – perpetrators or not – to lend their support in ending violence against women.

Many people shared their stories, and others made proclamations to change the status quo. To this end, Mayim Bialik, a Hollywood actress, neuroscientist, and a mom, shared a video called Will I Raise a Son like Harvey Weinstein?

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Bialik uses the video to reminisce about the lessons she learnt from her parents as a child actress in Hollywood. One lesson in particular was to be wary of men as they are always motivated by only one thing – sex. As she continues to navigate the importance of raising sons who will be the antithesis of Harvey Weinstein, she asks a very important question: Will the lack of trust in men, that my parents raised me with, serve me well as I raise my own sons?

This is an important question to grapple with as parents, and as a society. Most of the work that we as an organization do revolves mainly around empowering girls and women. This mom’s question forces us to consider training boys to view their world through a feminist lens.

Though Bialik’s views are socially conservative or lack cultural nuances, they are certainly a good place to start. Here is her list of 7 teachings that parents need to impart to their sons:

Equality:  Everyone is virtually the same. We all have the same hearts, same desire to be loved, respected and protected.
This is especially difficult in cultures where religion, class, and caste divides create systems of hierarchies that deify or dehumanize people based on where they belong in the spectrum. But the belief in humanity and the ability to consider equality as stated above is never beyond grasp even in archaic and patriarchal cultures.

Rights: Everyone has a right to feel safe. If you put someone in a situation where they don’t feel safe – It’s not okay.
Our children have the right to safety. Our women have the right to safety. Our men have the right to safety. Schools, colleges, workplaces, hospitals, public places are covered under several legislatures that call for safety protocols that are yet to be translated into actionable changes. Modeling this behavior becomes difficult when excuses are the norm and safety is only a buzzword.

Consent: You do not have the right to touch someone if they do not want to be touched – Even by your own mother.
This is a tough nugget to teach. Saying ‘no’ is seen as rejection, defiance, and rebellion – an act which undermines authority – making consent less important and obedience a virtue. This fallacy goes against the very nature of consent. Parents, as figures of authority, have a unique privilege to model consent by setting and respecting healthy boundaries with children – both boys and girls.

Common Sense: It’s never okay to be intimate or touch someone who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol to the point that they cannot give consent
Statements like, “Boys will be boys” or “Girls like ‘this’ are asking for it,” shred common sense and allow abuse to piggy back on the blame game. It’s easy to see alcohol, or a party, or articles of clothing as the culprit instead of common sense that informs us that people are equal, people have a right to safety, and people have to consent.

Location: You are responsible for where you are. If you are in a place where there are bad things going, leave and report it. Strip clubs and places where people pay to have sex, don’t go there. It is your responsibility to protect a man or woman that you see in a dangerous place. Get out. Get help. That’s on you
This might seem tricky as defining good and bad in respect to sexual preferences or reclaiming sexuality is always debated. If we teach our boys about equality, rights, consent, and common sense, there are greater chances that systems of abuse can be overcome as they self regulate where they should or should not be.

Ingesting: Scientifically speaking, the human brain doesn’t really behave with great judgment in the teens and even into the twenties. Things you would never think you would do, people do them when under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Ingesting pornography…likely contributes to the degradation and abuse of men and women.
As a neuroscientist, Bialik naturally turns steers the conversation towards topics such as brain plasticity as something we need to teach our sons to be aware of as they navigate life and form their identity, theories on life, overcome peer pressure, be media literate, etc. Everything that is permissible is not necessarily beneficial, especially if it contributes to the objectification and abuse of people, women in particular.

Daily: Every single day respect people that you interact with but specifically, pay special attention to those who have not been appreciated or represented historically.
This is difficult when privilege is woven into the fabric of our existence, but let’s walk two moons in their moccasins to understand the position of privilege as it applies to each of us. Let’s make it a habit to be more than politically correct; not by being patronizing, but with the belief that everybody is created equally, that everybody has rights, that consent and common sense are essential in intimate relationships, and that learning can lead to better understanding.

In faith, we echo Bialik’s closing comment: We have inherited a broken world and it is our job to fix it.

Share with us how parents could model this behavior within families.

Flawesome Savi

1. What was it about the flawesome series that got you interested in sharing your story with us Savi?

Nobody is born perfect or even becomes perfect. Everyone has some flaw or the other. I wouldn’t even call it a flaw, that’s a big word, it could be a limitation. It’s how we work through the limitation that matters. I am not sure whether my life or condition even qualifies to be spoken under this flawesome topic, but yes I have had limitations and I have learnt to overcome them. So I am happy to share my journey and experiences.

2. Give us some idea of your background for starters.
As a young girl I was very active, bubbly and an extrovert, who always wanted to be happy and always dreamt of this world to be a bed of roses. I was a dancer, singer, artist, you name it. I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis(RA) at the age of 19. RA is a long-term autoimmune disorder that primarily affects joints. It typically results in warm, swollen, and painful joints. The body’s immune system – which normally protects its health by attacking foreign substances like bacteria and viruses – mistakenly attacks the joints. This creates inflammation that causes the tissue that lines the inside of joints (the synovium) to thicken, resulting in swelling and pain in and around the joints. The synovium makes a fluid that lubricates joints and helps them move smoothly. If inflammation goes unchecked, it can damage cartilage, the elastic tissue that covers the ends of bones in a joint, as well as the bones themselves. Over time, there is loss of cartilage, and the joint spacing between bones can become smaller. Joints can become loose, unstable, painful and lose their mobility. Joint deformity also can occur.

My joints used to pain to the effect that I was unable to even lift a single sheet of A4 paper. Doing my daily chores was becoming difficult, like bathing, dressing, eating etc. All of a sudden I found myself totally disabled and crippled from even taking care of myself. I was unable to walk, sit or stand for long and soon I was limping badly. I was gradually slipping into a depression because no one would understand the kind of pain I was going through. Everyone had great advice for me. Over a period of a few years I tried all kinds of treatment ranging from allopathy, ayurveda, therapeutic yoga, sindha, accupuncture and accupressure to herbal diets and what not. Nothing improved my condition, one by one every joint of mine was getting affected. I was on steroids and pain killers and mild chemotherapy drugs to keep things under control. Life went on but with difficulty. I used to cry it out in the night and wet my pillow with my tears because no one could feel my physical and mental pain. The fun part of me was still wanting to have fun, but now there were limitations. I could not do all that i used to do and had to stop dancing which was a long standing dream of mine.

3. What event/incident turned your life around or was pivotal to you?

I liked a guy in my workplace. I knew he liked me too but I was never going to take the step, my condition always kept me at check. We were good friends. He would always say to me, “What u have is not a killer disease, always be content and happy with what you have. There are many who dont know if they will live another day”. He showed me how to trust God, to have hope and he gave me a life I thought I could never have. I tried to convince him not to enter into wedlock with me, because I feared that I would not be able to lead a family life. But he was a man of faith so he asked me what if I had got this ailment after we were married? His support would not have wavered for me. I had great support from the Church who always prayed for my healing and stood with me in the low times. I remember popping two strong painkillers before walking down the aisle. Because it was like a dream come true, I did not see any decoration or the guests in front of me. My heart was filled with Gods promise and hope for a good life.

I started pursuing all my passions once again, painting, crafting, dancing, holidaying. I started taking my inability as a challenge to see how much I can do, how far I can go. And I used to do everything till the time that it would become unbearable for me. I would only say tat my pain tolerance increased exponentially over all these years.

4. Have you struggled with feelings of inadequacy
Most of the time, Yes. I had and have many limitations in terms of lifestyle. I cant dance so freely, but I still do with my crooked hands and legs.
I cannot dress myself so easily, it takes some effort
I cannot reach my own back
I cannot sit on the floor and have eye contact with my kids ( I felt bad about it but my husband used to say, no issues, sit on the couch)
I could not carry them when they were little
I could not take care of my children when my knees were severely affected and I had to go in for a knee replacement surgery
I cannot go on long treks
I cannot sit on the beach sand and enjoy the waves
The list is long….

5. What were the challenges you faced because of your condition and how did you cope or overcome them?
I did face many challenges due to my condition at home, workplace and outside. I was always mentally ready and up for anything, but physically I had limitations and that sometimes pulled me down psychologically.

  • I had challenges in raising my kids, I cannot do things tat all mothers do very easily. But tat did not constrain me, I had my own parenting style.
  • I had difficulty in standing and taking long trainings at workplace. I never was hush hush about my condition, I openly spoke about it and made myself comfortable.
  • I take the stairs one step at a time so people get frustrated standing behind me. I tell them tat I’m going to take a long time so I let them pass by.
  • When I am unable to do something, I make a joke about it and laugh it out.
  • I have already had one of my knees replaced at a young age, I proudly call myself an ironwoman.
  • In a public place, in a confined area like an elevator or a waiting room I have heard people whispering about me, my crooked hands and bulged joints. I have learnt to brush them away. That doesn’t affect me at all.
  • I have had relatives mock me saying it beats them as to why I decided to even get married because I cannot possibly be having a good life. But God gifted me a great husband and two adorable children. Many were astonished to see that I could become a mother and have an uncomplicated smooth delivery. I wanted to show them all that life is not easy for anyone, its not a bed of roses after all.

You have struggles all through, if you are going to give them importance, they will overpower you but if you learn to live with those struggles and brush the negativity away, you have a beautiful life to live.

6. If we asked you what some of your wildest dreams are, what would you say?
Hmm… wildest… I don’t know if its wild but I have done a lot of adventurous things in my life. Went on an offroading kinda trip on a hilly/rocky terrain when I was 8 months pregnant.

Just a few months back I went diving in the Andaman Islands (after taking the total responsibility of my health condition underwater).

I want to give back to society in some way, do my little bit. I don’t just limit myself, I try, if i can do it well and good, if not its okay. I know I at least tried. All this is possible for me because I have put my trust in God. He has brought me this far he will take care of me so I enjoy life!

7. Do you think, from your experience, that every obstacle or set back is actually training ground for the next big success or breakthrough in life?
Yes definitely, but as an individual one needs to take control of it. Unless I want to come out of the struggles and difficult times in my life, unless I create the will power in me, I cannot overcome any situation, I will only be pulled into it deeper. If I had started to pity myself due to all the limitations/flaws I had, I would have only ended up in depression. That’s killing myself.

Whenever there is an obstacle in life, try to create avenues to get out of it, these avenues might lead you to a new chapter in life.

When I was down at the thought that I’m unable to take care of my kids I started watching some youtube DIY videos to keep away from those negative thoughts. This brought out the creator and crafter side of me. I started making hair accessories for my daughter. It made me happy that I’m finally doing something useful plus I got appreciation from many. This spurred me on to open a Facebook page to market my handmade products. That’s how “All Things Beautiful” evolved. Its a passion/hobby turned into a home business. Its been 3 years now and I’m happy crafting and doing what I like with my own limitations. It creates an identity for oneself.

8. What has been the greatest achievement and joy of your life so far?
Knowing God had been the joy of my life. Even now I feel inadequate and depressed many times, but when I think of the blessings, I just smile.

Hope and belief is something that changes your perspective in life.

I cant say I have achieved anything great but I can say I am trying to live the life that was given to me to the fullest. I have so many more things that I want to do in life.

9. What is your advice to our readers today?
I cannot advise but I would like to say that there’s no problem in life that cannot be overcome with positivity. There’s nothing so bad to lose your life over it. Be happy, enjoy, do what you can and all that you want to. Trust in God. Life is beautiful.


She Leads Indeed

As a part of the She Leads initiative, a joint campaign by the Madras Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Women of Worth and the British Deputy High Commission of India, a leadership workshop was organised at the Great Lakes Institute of Management. The She Leads campaign recognised aspiring young women from across India and inspired them to take up roles as leaders in their respective fields. Ten winners from various colleges were selected and an award ceremony was organised earlier in the year. At the event, they were able to interact with people such as Shruti Hassan, Kiran Bedi and the British Deputy High Commissioner in Chennai. As a continuation of this campaign, a three day leadership workshop starting on the 31st of June, was conducted by the Great Lakes Institute of Management Chennai.

The workshop began with Prof. G. N Radhakrishnan who conducted a session on personal effectiveness and developing self. He explored the concept of emotional intelligence and its relevance to leadership, which is a topic that has gained importance recently. Emotional intelligence essentially refers to the capacity to monitor one’s own and others emotions and being able to respond appropriately. Prof. Radhakrishnan elaborated on how this was essential in maintaining good relationships with coworkers and also for maintaining peak performance, in oneself and in those around.

The next day was centred around economic development and was led by Dr. V.P Singh who outlined certain basic economic concepts and connected them to current policy and events. He explained how controlling monetray supply can affect growth and inflation. The She Leads finalists spent a productive afternoon with the press after which Prof. Sridhar concluded the day with an enlightening session on financial planning. The session was extremely useful for a group of young women on the verge of starting their careers, as it pointed out the benefits of starting to save at an early age and of investing these savings in various places.

The last day started off early with Prof. Sridhar’s discussion on the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility. Later, Prof. Stephen Chinnaswamy conducted a session on team building wherein he spoke of the various facets of what it entails to be a leader. He strayed away from defining a leader as the stereotypical aggressive boss, and advocated a definition in which a leader was meant to be flexible, emotionally intelligent, and willing to make mistakes as long as they learned from those mistakes. He conducted activities that were designed to facilitate better understanding and was also able to use what he taught in order to answer the questions that the participants had prior to the session.

The workshop on the whole was a resounding success as the participants enjoyed interacting with the highly competent, experienced and skilled faculty all the while being exposed to new areas of skill and learning.



Women of Worth kicked off 2017 by launching a training workshop, “Igniting Young Minds”, at Vedanta Academy, Tirupur, for children of grades 1 to 10. Training has been WOW’s core competency in accomplishing one of its three major mission goals, which is to educate and train people from all facets of life to bring the change we all seek in order to build a harmonious society, devoid of gender inequalities and discriminations.

The question is, How? How can we bring this change and also raise a generation of responsible citizens for the future, when we know children easily fall a prey to societal pressures and discriminations because of which we see so many of them battle confusion, turn into recluses, fall into depression, grow up with low self-esteem and end up as adults who do not voice opinions to problems that matter?

WOW’s workshops address some of the sensitive and controversial issues that children face day to day in a friendly and an approachable way.  It doesn’t halt at awareness but delves deeper in an aim to ignite and liberate their potent young minds, evoking a sense of passion and responsibility within themselves, towards others and the community they live in.

At Vedanta Academy, our well-equipped team split the workshop sessions into three categories such as the junior section, senior section and the staff. The junior’s category had a workshop under the title, “Media Literacy: A class on Self-Worth” that educated children on how to filter media messages and the other two categories had sessions on “Anti-Bullying “and “Sexual Abuse” which addressed topics such as ‘How to report bullying’, ‘What if I am a bully?’, ‘Break the silence on abuse’, ‘How to prevent and spot abuse’ and much more.

Every session commenced with an ice breaker and proceeded to address the topics of interest through videos, games, activities, enactments and lots of interaction. Below is a video of the junior’s category interacting with our team during an activity called “Precious”, which aimed to make them understand their unique self.

Picture: The Trainers for the senior category encouraging the boys to do a roleplay on the topic “Bullying”.

Role play on bullying

Senior boys

We believe no child or individual are the same. Likewise, no workshop we put together is monotonous either. We take great care in customizing our materials to cater to the needs of the school and the issues that looms large on a particular campus or environment. Thus, changing and igniting young minds, one school at a time.

WOW is marching towards its next phase in training by welcoming schools and colleges to be a part of the UN campaign #BeBoldForChange, a drive that is addressing gender sensitization and equality this International Women’s Day month. If you would like us to bring the “Bold for change” campaign or any of our workshops to your campus please write to us at wow@womenofworth.in for more information and our team will get in touch with you.

Finally, we extend our commitment and encourage each and every one of you to be a change in your corner of the world; Together we can make a difference!

Lead the change!!

We Are Unique and We Are Equal

KaviRitikaBy Kavita Emmanuel | Founder and Director, WOW


Happy Women’s Day 2015 to all the women out there!

These wishes come from a heavy heart but with all sincerity that I can muster at a time when India is shocked at her own attitude towards women.

“We have the best culture. In our culture there is no space for a woman,” says ML Sharma.

Do you wonder what goes on in people’s mind when they make such statements? Do they really hold on to such archaic world views? Have we not progressed with all the awareness surrounding us on gender equality?

Should Leslie Udwin’s film be released? – is the hot debate at the moment in the country. Frankly, I am more shocked by what the defense lawyers, ML Sharma and AP Singh, have said.

Can our lawyers use male chauvinism, misogyny, and patriarchy as a legal defense for rape and murder?  How does condoning acts of violence against women and blaming these actions on culture not bring us shame beyond recovery? On the other hand, are these defenses mere excuses to not allow the finer, mature side of human nature to take over one’s baser instincts?

To me, this statement is the essence of a fallen human nature; a human behavior that so vehemently and arrogantly parades its desire to manipulate and oppress fellow humans.

My greatest fear is this: Why isn’t everyone infuriated by these statements or do some people in some sense agree with what is being said?  How long will we continue to hear: “A girl should be home before 6,” or “Boys will be boys,” or “her dress invites trouble.”


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Government schemes for the empowerment of women, new laws to protect women and the campaigns for equality by women for women focus on one half of the gender equation. There is another half that we can no longer ignore. For too long we have ignored the empowerment of men. The truth is that most men today pathetically display their need to be empowered.

We need to send the message of equality to our boys in our schools and colleges who are so accustomed to seeing gender based discrimination play out right before their eyes.

If we do not address gender inequality now, we will continue to raise male leaders and influencers endorsing the same old dehumanizing attitude towards women.

If we do not address gender inequality now, our generation will have a hand in perpetuating the norm that says empowerment is good so as long as it does not challenge gender roles and a man’s place in society.

Our boys need to be taught to question societal norms that limit women. They need to come alongside us women to stand up and say: Men and women, we are equal. Men and women, together we can reclaim the dignity, value and worth that belong to women.