Begum Shaila Luxmy, 1995, BTech, Civil Engineering, is a vivacious, disciplined and extremely well put-together lady. Her strong opinions on women’s rights and issues are at the core of this article she has put together for us. Read on for her pearls of wisdom!

Women’s Day- the first reaction that came to my mind is not very pleasant. Why do we have to have a Women’s Day? There is no Men’s Day! By celebrating a Women’s Day are not we actually accepting and confirming all the inequalities and what is so great to feel about it?

Then slowly the realization came to my mind and I feel at peace. I realized that we have a “Women’s Day” for not only to raise awareness about how unfair the society is towards women no matter whatever country we pick up in the world; but also to celebrate the massive strength and solid spirit of the women in every country of the world! We celebrate Women’s Day not only for the huge advancement we have made and milestones we have reached so far, but also to embrace ourselves and hold our head high for what we are – a women.

In a Women’s Day, we should celebrate our uniqueness, our strengths and our magnificent advantages and abilities that are scientifically proven like multi-tasking, nurturing and caring, conflict resolution, effective communication, relationship building, feeling and intuition and many more. We should celebrate Women’s Day for the same reason we celebrate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day – that is to appreciate the huge contribution they are making towards the betterment of the society; in any field and every field – from home making to the top of the corporate world! This is the day we should celebrate ourselves and most of all be thankful for being a woman!

I know it is easy to say than to do given the circumstances and the reality. Then the real question comes: How to do it? – How to stay positive and give our best shot against all the inequality and adversity? I wish I know all the answers, but one thing I know for sure is that the “baton” is in our hands now! The women of our earlier generation have given their best shot; they have run their best race! And that is why we are here, where we are now. We have to do better than them! We cannot let them fail and we cannot let us fail! If we can have this determination inside and a strong steel like spirit, I am sure no matter what big the discrimination seems, how large the imparity seems we can overcome it all!!Luxmy

First step for any success is to believe in oneself! Believe that with all our individual talents and qualities we are simply not a biological by product or cosmic incident; but a valuable unique piece that is here to complete the puzzle of the universe! Now it is up to us to find our best fit. It is our quest to find the position from where we can contribute the most. Some of us are lucky to find that easily some are not. You may belong to the later group! You may have to change jobs, change career multiple times, change your field of study or even do something totally unrelated of what you are doing now in the future. And that is OK! It is OK as long as you are learning and growing and discovering yourself a little bit more every day!  Success is not a destination, so is life. It is the journey – a journey with different milestones, different goals and dreams at different stages of life!

In this journey, you may have to make tough choices – choices that seems are equally important to you! Sometimes you may have to let go of something important to get something even more important. Listen to your heart. Trust yourself- trust your gut feelings and instinct; if you do that we will never go wrong!

When it comes to achieving your dreams – be bold and be brave and be adventures! I have collected my four degrees from four different countries (undergraduate from India, graduate from Thailand, Ph.D. from Japan and Post Doc. from Canada). By the way, I born and brought up in Bangladesh and came to IIT as a foreign student. It sounds very adventurous; right? Wrong! I am a huge safety freak and I wish I could be more brave and bold towards my dreams. I wish the same for you too.

Every change in your life will bring new challenges. I remember my freshman year in the IIT days. I was young, naive and first time away from home in a totally unfamiliar cultural setting! Everything was unfamiliar- the food on the plate and the faces on the table! I did not know how to ride a bike. So I have to walk to different buildings for classes and within a day or two my feet were covered with blisters (sound like a Hindi movie heroine – but trust me it was not as glamorous as it sounds now). In short, I was feeling pathetic and miserable! Then something unusual happened! A stray cat came and took shelter in the older wing veranda of our hostel. It was sick, tired, exhausted and even more miserable and pathetic than me! In a strange way I could relate to it entirely! The girls in the hostel were kind towards it, they did not chase it away and some of them even gave it food.  In those desperate days of mine I put all my hope on that cat as if somehow our destiny is tied! If that cat would make it so would I! Slowly the cat got better and healthier and I survived my IIT days too. So what is the moral of the story – be nice to a stray cat because you never know that someone may be betting their fate on it (smile)!  May be it is but there is a better lesson I had learn from it and that is to have faith in yourself and in something bigger than yourself! Have a faith that you will be taken care of and at the end everything will be OK. If you can believe this, your going will get easier! By the way I learned cycling in a month and my blisters healed faster too.

You may fail couple of times – so does everyone! There were times in my life when I think I have figured it out all and from now onward it will be all rosy and rosy. Only later I found out how wrong I was! No matter how prepare you are; life will surprise you from time to time. But that is not important; important is to get up every time you fall! Important is to hold onto your dream like the dearest possession of yours. As long as you are dreaming and working towards your dream you are in the right direction!

One last thing, there is absolutely no excuse for not standing up for oneself! Stand up for your rights and claims your credit! Let not give anyone else permission to undermine your talents and achievements because you are a woman! A lioness is a mother, she is very loving, caring and nurturing, but that does not mean she cannot be fierce too! Just mess up with her and you will see. So should be you!

Finally, do not forget that the “Baton” is in our hand now. We have to do our best run and we have to do it for ourselves, for the ones that had gone before us and for the ones that will be following us!

At the end, enjoy this touching and beautiful song released from UN in the last years Women’s Day, cheers!

http://song.unwomen.org/

Authors Bio: Luxmy Begum has done her Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering and recently established the Eco Ambassador (www.theecoambassador.com) in her effort of making the world a little more greener! She is a Professional Engineer in Ontario Canada and also a certified Project Management Professional (PMP). In her personal life she is a wife and a mother.