From the glossy world of cinema to bringing real women and motherhood issues to the fore with her latest role as a social media influencer, actor Sameera Reddy has come a long way. Be it body positivity or postpartum depression, there’s a range of issues she talks about in a way that touches the right chords with people. On National Girl Child Day, the doting mother has opened up about what it takes to raise a confident girl in today’s time and the importance of sensitising children about gender equality.
Sameera has a daughter named Nyra and a son named Hans. As a parent, her emphasis is on maintaining gender equality and sensitisation. The eradication of inequalities faced by the girl is also at the heart of the National Girl Child Day, initiated by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development.
Gender equality starts from home
Sameera Reddy, who made her Bollywood debut in 2002 with Maine Dil Tujhko Diya, gave birth to her son Hans in 2015 followed by daughter Nyra in 2019. As a woman, she is sensitive to the continued injustice that girls and women face in the society. She finds it infuriating, and believes the best thing she can do is to start the change within her own home.
How does Sameera Reddy promote gender equality? She says she makes sure that her son knows that his sister or any other girl out there is not only equal, but can be brighter, smarter and even do better. “He needs to respect that. They (her son and daughter) are on par even at home in every way. There is absolutely zero differentiation because he is a boy and she is a girl. That’s the best thing I can do because the change begins with me,” she tells HealthShots.
Sameera Reddy on growing up with two sisters
While growing up, Sameera didn’t face any discrimination at home. Recalling her childhood days, the sister of former models Meghna Reddy and Sushama Reddy says, “We were three girls. So, I don’t think we had any issues on that front.” The three sisters didn’t have any brothers around, so they grew up feeling extremely empowered (health lessons moms should teach their daughters). “I think even if I did have a brother around, my mom and dad were such that they were from the mindset that girls were definitely on par or more. So there was no difference there.” In fact, she feels that the strength comes from the way she was raised.
Sameera Reddy’s message for parents who are biased towards sons
Not impressed, Sameera says, “Please! Break this chain, because it needs to broken. The conditioning for a little girl is so important and how we treat our young ones is the way they become young adults. That’s how they go into the world and form opinions. It’s so important as parents to make sure that the children don’t see this bias at home,” she says. She feels it’s the responsibility of a parent to make sure that “your young girl knows for a fact that she can be anything she wants in this world and there is absolutely no gender bias.”
Things Sameera Reddy tells her daughter
1. Trust your instincts
It is something that her mother taught Sameera, and now she wants her daughter to learn the same. The popular influencer is thankful to her mother as this life lesson has really paid off.
2. Life is not a fairy tale
Sameera doesn’t subscribe to fairy tales. She doesn’t want her daughter to think that she will be saved or taken care of by a man or a marriage. Sameera became aware of these things at a very early age, so she makes her daughter read stories that empower her instead. “It’s not about being a feminist,” she clarifies. For her, it’s more about teaching the value of gender equality.
3. There’s always a choice
Sameera tells her daughter that she has a choice. “She should know that she can say ‘no’ and she should say no whenever required. If she feels something is wrong, she needs to communicate it,” says Sameera. The actress thinks that a lot of girls tend to not open their mouths because they are worried about the society and their family not supporting them. She wants her baby girl to know that her parents are always with her. And she hopes that all the girls out there have that kind of support. “They should know that they have that choice to say that there is an injustice happening. Someone will stand up for them.”
Well, Sameera Reddy’s tips for her daughter are a treasure trove for every girl child out there, as well as for every mother who believes in the power of gender equality.