How I became a feminist

Sukriti Mantri
6 min readJun 27, 2021

I was born and brought up in a small city in India, neither as hustling as Mumbai or Delhi nor as quiet as the countryside areas. Although my parents struggled to keep us afloat, I consider myself privileged that I got formal education. I believe that the right to education is the most basic right of every child irrespective of their country or financial capability. I think I can credit my parents for this thinking. They knew a long time ago that if they want their children to have a good life, they must ensure we get the education we deserve.

I wasn’t their only child. I had an elder brother, one year a few days older than me. I studied in the same co-ed school as my brother till I was in 2nd standard. One day after my 3rd standard classes had just started, my parents sat me down and told me that they had arranged for me to go to a different school. The school I had gotten into was a historically prestigious all-girls missionary school. Unlike most other kids, I was on the top of the moon on hearing this news because something new was happening. The reality did strike me months later, but the school schedule and the coming up to speed part for what I have missed took my mind off it. I was a social person, so it wasn’t challenging for me to make new friends. I was happy.

Very late in my life, I realized that switching schools in the 3rd standard was very difficult, especially if you were moving up in the apparent ranking of schools. Either donation (allegedly) was required, or some exigent circumstances were required, none of which was true in my case. I asked my father how he did it. He said he spent days and weeks sitting outside the principal’s office just waiting for her to look at my academic file. Finally, the principal gave in and looked at my file. She was thoroughly impressed. I was a straight-A student, well, at least till then. I asked why it mattered to them so much that I go to that school. I was perfectly fine in the other school; my brother was there to take care of me. It was a good school. They told me that being a girl, it was vital that I was given the best facilities available so that I can become independent. Otherwise, like many other girls, I would get married and, as a result, dependent on someone else for my survival. This conversation would almost always follow with my mother telling me the story of how she wanted to be a doctor, but all her dreams were stomped onto because she was a girl, and her parents did not want to send her to a relative’s home in the town nearby. This is why it was…

Sukriti Mantri

Philosophical Materials Scientist, Fiction Writer, Loves reading books, She/Her