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Shattering Taboos

"I aspire to be a successful entrepreneur who can morally and financially support all of the young girls out there."

-Sanober Afsar

Author: Stuti Ajmera

August, 2021.

I often visit my younger, carefree self. Life had never been more stress-free than when I was running around with my friends Neha and Zeba. Looking back, I've never felt such joy and vigor as I did with them.

My identity as an Indian Muslim Woman has been a roller coaster ride. I've overcome a number of challenges to arrive at this point in my life. Higher education is not valued in our society, especially for women. It was difficult to persuade everyone of my desire to pursue an MBA. Everyone expected me to be married by the age of 20, but I never wanted to marry before I was independent and standing on my own two feet.

Nonetheless, I studied diligently and graduated at the top of my class. It was never an option for me to be lax with my studies. I was not only the top of my class, but also of the entire university. This gave my parents hope that I could do it. I passed the Jamia Millia Islamia entrance exam on my first try, which was a major step forward in my life. Because JMI is regarded as a safe place for Muslim Women among Eastern Indian Muslim societies, I was given the opportunity to leave my hometown and further my education.

My family was very encouraging in terms of moral support, but there were financial constraints. Because I come from a very orthodox family, my father was hesitant about education in Delhi, but my mother was eventually able to persuade him.

Sanober with her family

I aspire to be a successful entrepreneur who can morally and financially support all of the young girls out there. I want to break the stigma that exists in Muslim communities in Jharkhand and Bihar. Starting one step at a time, I am proud to say that my younger sisters have had the opportunity to further their education without fear of social repercussions. Also, as a well-known employee of one of the Big 4 finance firms, Ernst and Young, I must say that I have been financially able to support them on my own. I am in the early stages of realizing my dream of making it easier for young girls to dream big and achieve their goals. I want to grow and would do so once I have established a firm or a well-paying business of my own.

I want to dispel the widespread belief that girls are inferior or overly emotional to lead an endeavor. I believe they are equally deserving and capable of any task. I look forward to a better future for women and hope to see a world brimming with hope and possibility.

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