When I was younger, I used to love when all the family members would come to our house. My cousins and I always played fun competitive games outside. My brother Tony and I always made a great team. As I grew older, I started to notice that I got less time outside and more time in the kitchen with mum. Tony, on the other hand, was still allowed to play. Nobody called him into the kitchen to help out. That seemed strange to me - so I questioned it. I asked my mum why I couldn’t go outside and had to stay in to wash plates. All she said was, “That’s just the way things are.”
Hmmm I thought to myself – ‘Is it really?’ No one asked how I felt or what I wanted. I was expected to just obey the rules. Listen, Springsters: When decisions are being made and you don’t feel they are in your best interest, you have the right to question it. (But only If you feel safe to do so, of course!)
In this situation I didn’t think it was fair to treat Tony and I differently, so I challenged it. My mum couldn’t see a new way of doing things, so I went to speak to Tony in the evening when everyone had gone. I opened up to him about how I missed being his teammate and perhaps if he helped me out for a few minutes we could both get things done quicker. I also offered to help him with any work he had to do.
The next time people came round, my parents were surprised when they saw Tony and I washing plates together. Now it’s like a new tradition in our house. There are no rules that house chores are just for girls. My brother and I work together and we are make a great team. I feel really proud of myself for standing up and speaking up against that inequality.
Us girls deserve the same amount of freedom as everyone else. So if anyone tries to cramp your style: Stop. Think. Be confident. And challenge their decisions. If I can do it, then so can you. If you are challenging someone older than you, remember to remain calm and respectful.