For our future generations to excel, they deserve to have a safe environment and a safer society which enables them to become better versions of themselves. The world is constantly attempting to change for the better by addressing important issues such as women empowerment, racism, sexual harassment in workspaces and the likes.
While South Asian countries, particularly Pakistan, are yet to address these issues, an initiative called Meri Awaz – to encourage children to embrace themselves as they are – has been launched by Dalda. Children, particularly girls are constantly put under societal pressures for being too fat or thin, too tall or short; criticism always looms over their heads. To ensure that they do not develop any insecurities, a panel discussion was organized by Dalda to promote the notion of ‘happy and healthy’ rather than ‘thin and fair’.
To begin the discussion, marketing director, Usama Khan shared how he as a father had observed that his daughters were effected by these societal pressures. “The fact that a young girl’s success is determined by her weight is jarring and this is exactly why I wanted to be a part of this project.”
Acclaimed actors Samina Peerzada, Sarwat Gillani and Aamina Sheikh, model-entrepreneur Nadia Hussain, Mishaeyl Naek founder of Yummy Mummy group, and fashion journalist, Aamna Haider Isani were part of the esteemed panel and they shared personal experiences of how they have tackled societal pressures.
“I have been in the fashion industry for over 20 years now and when I started off, I heard the same voices; ‘how can someone who is so ‘fat’ write about fashion? If my mother hadn’t raised me as the confident person that I am, I would not have survived. I wouldn’t be the journalist I am today,” shared Aamna Isani, Editor-in-Chief of Something Haute.
Samina Peerzada said that it is important to let children be children — let them dream and be what they aspire to be. “It is the age of dreaming and if you confuse children at such a tender age about their height or colour of their skin and their weight, their growth will be compromised.”
Brand ambassador of Dalda, Aamina Sheikh insisted that it is vital for our children’s future that we block out these voices. “We are the affected party; these voices have affected us and we have been through complex stages in our lives. However, today we are wise enough to understand how to tackle them. As parents, as mothers, we have to be the voice of reason for our children.”
Nadia Hussain has always been vocal about causes she strongly believes in and through this platform she sent out the message that the achievement of our children should not be determined by how they look.
“We as parents have to block out these voices. If you receive an ill comment about your child, as a mother you have to block it out for your children. I wish for my daughters to be athletic and when I hear comments like ‘oh, her skin tone will change’ I am appalled because it does not matter, what matters is that they are achieving something.”
Towards the end of an hour-long discussion, Sarwat Gillani suggested that corporations like Dalda should take this campaign a step further and invest in women-centric films which address societal pressures women endure.
“It is the day of cinema so it’s vital to make women-centric films. If corporations brainstorm and come up with a message that can be adequately delivered to the masses through a film, it will address these issues to some extent.”
Unlike many corporations, Dalda has shown resilience and commitment to the cause of making the country a safe space for young girls. The campaign has officially kickstarted throughout the country this week.