Tripti is 16 and lives in Rajshahi district in Bangladesh. Discrimination against girls is widespread in her community, but despite this Tripti and her family are standing up for gender equality. As part of our celebration of the International Day of the Girl we asked Tripti and her mother to share her successes at school, and their hopes for girls in the future.
What’s your proudest achievement, Tripti?
Achieving grade 5 in my Secondary School Certificate exam is the proudest achievement of my life. I’ve had to face a lot of difficulties in studying, because of being a girl from a poor family, but I have invariable enthusiasm for studying and getting a good result. My dream of passing with GPA 5 came true and my parents and teachers are really happy and proud.
What are three things that make you happy in your life?
I have always had the best marks in my class and because of this I got the chance to read in my dream college - Rajshahi College. I used to take part in different local competitions and got the first prizes in those competitions, like Debating and Art. And I also love to sing and got the first prize in different singing competitions.
What are attitudes towards girls in your community like?
Religious and social superstitious beliefs and the conservative mindset of the people in our society here never let them think of female education and its benefit; they don’t even think that girls have anything to do with school. Family members are not at all concerned about their daughter's education. They believe that girls should be married off as soon as they grow up. But the happiest fact is that my family gives me the opportunity to study.
What do you think girls need to reach their potential?
Three things are really important for a girl. First of all to continue to study, to get equal rights from their family, and to cherish a dream for the future to help reach their goals.
I want to be a government official or a teacher after my graduation. To achieve my dreams it’s really important for me to be hardworking, punctual and determined about my goal in life. Moreover, honesty is the most important thing for success.
Why is it important for girls to be equal to boys?
I think there is no difference between a girl and a boy. Both are an important part of a society. To develop a country it is really important to reduce the gap between boys and girls. Reducing this gap can bring the success of a nation. So it is really vital to give equal opportunities and rights to both girls and boys to move forward. Otherwise it is impossible for a girl to reach her dreams.
What changes would you like to see in the world by 2030?
By 2030 I want to see some changes in our society; like that education has been fully confirmed for children; that our own community is aware about their daughter’s rights and send their children to school regularly without any gender discrimination; and that people become more conscious of educating their daughters and the bad effects of child marriage.
Momtaj, tell us about your daughter
My daughter Tripti is a student in grade eleven. Her hobbies are reading books, listening to music, drawing and travelling. She wants to be a government official in the future. She is very attentive at her studies. And she is very obedient towards elders.
How do you feel about attitudes towards girls in your community?
We feel sad when any girl has to get married rather go to school. And sometimes we see discriminatory attitudes and behaviour among parents between the girl and boy child in the family which is also not acceptable to us. But we never consider this for our children. We want our daughter to be educated. We dream that our daughter will serve the community by being an educated person.
We consider our daughter and son as equal because they are born with the same rights. So they should be treated equally. We should not make any kind of discrimination between boys and girls.
Do you worry about Tripti's safety when she goes out?
We always try to make our daughter aware about protection issues. Now she can take care of herself. But as our community and society is not yet very safe for girls and women, sometimes we feel worried about whether we will be able to protect her from all kinds of violence.
What kind of changes do you want to see in the world for her in 2030?
It is important to create an open and friendly atmosphere where there will be no injustice or inequality; therefore it is critical to involve men and women rather than only men in any issues of the society. To empower a nation it is important to create awareness about education for girls, as well as making families aware about girls’ access to health, education, and economic rights. Child marriage, child labour and child abuse should be stopped, immediately.
We'd love it if you share this blog to help girls voices be heard and raise awareness of the importance of girls getting equal opportunities to go to school.
Here are three more blogs from girls talking about their experiences of being a girl and the changes they want to see by 2030: