I have been thinking about a word I use a lot, ‘sisterhood’ and what it means.
I am an exceptional circumstance where the greater beings above gifted me with three wonderful sisters and my mother who gave birth to all four of us by Caesarian section.
Disappointment when a girl is born is quite common in south Asian culture , boys are viewed as much superior, so there was me, the first born in 1989 then Sanam and Ikra were born a few years apart, GIRLS, would you believe?
Health risks increase with every Caesarian procedure yet my mother went there and out popped girl number four, Nafeesa in 1996.
We are like a girl band, without the musical talent.
From a young age I have been surrounded by lots of girls, crappy girly toys, polly pockets, barbies & hair clips.
We spent a lot of time ruining my mother’s makeup and shuffling around the house in her court shoes and clothes whilst she cooked us dinner.
I am lucky that this is what I know, as I grew older my feelings towards friendships were similar to my family, I look not just for loose acquaintances but for sisters.
Girls I could talk to about anything and everything and be myself around, people I could support and turn to in times of need.
I grew up with my next door neighbour Sarah Inge, born three months apart we attended primary and secondary school together. She is classed as the unofficial ‘fifth sister’, we have spent ridiculous amounts of time together and have a truly special bond.
I look at my beginnings and as rocky as other aspects of my life have become I can see my roots were very strong.
I had the female foundations set up to support me today and I’m extremely grateful for this.
When my parents divorced it was vitally important for my sister unit to stick together.
My mother tainted with a divorce status, divorce being massively frowned upon in south Asian culture.
Then there was us,
FOUR GIRLS, what a burden.
How the hell was my mother going to manage to marry us all off on her own, would have been a popular thought of hers and many south Asian women.
My family are surviving and have got to this point despite the societal, financial and cultural challenges because we stuck together through it all.
To this day despite a stage 4 cancer diagnosis we have a multi award winning female run restaurant in a male dominated industry.
We would not be where we are without the army of supporters (majority women) behind us, lifting us up in times of need and generally being our cheerleaders.
The warped messages women have been taught for so long is to simply hate ourselves and to hate each other, how gross is that?
In my culture the worst critics are women, when I visited Pakistan recently it was the women who were giving me war style interrogations about why I wasn’t married still and being critical about my clothes not being fashionable enough.
Men seemed way more relaxed, with passing questions and comments.
Maybe my aunties mouths were bigger, or they had genuine limited views on what or who women should be, I think it’s the latter and that’s really sad.
Us ladies are extremely hard on ourselves, in a mans world we need to unpick what we have been taught by society and media.
Women are so beautiful and so unique, Hollywood and the era of perfect celebrity is dying, we are better than that in 2019.
We don’t need to be married off like property and become someone’s ‘responsibility’, we have greater minds than that!
We are not defined by our titles or how many children we have or dishes we can cook, we are bigger than that.
There was a saying emblazoned on my restaurant Masala Wala Cafe windows for the first year of trading, it read ‘women are the real architects of a community’, a quote by Harriet Beacher Stowe.
This rings so true, we are there quietly working, helping the world go round at the credit to men.
Globally we have made plenty of progress so far but only through sisterhood will we make more noise and achieve better equality for women in this world.
When women support women, mountains move, stick together ladies xxx