For International Women's Day 2012, the theme is 'connecting girls and futures.' The Huffington Post Canada is asking girls and women what matters the most to them. Join the conversation with the hashtag #womenof2012 or leave us a comment to answer any of the questions below.
Name: Chandeep K. Bajaj
City: Ottawa, Ont.
Occupation: Outreach Officer
Who is your biggest influence?
My biggest influence are my parents. My mom is the most caring and loving person I know and exudes a quiet, but very real, strength. My dad is very logical and practical and is a man of integrity. Both of them are selfless when it comes to caring for their family and are so very humble. I really respect these qualities about them and I hope to be able to gain a combo of these as I grow older.
What do you think is the biggest issue facing girls your age today?
I think the biggest issue facing women today is finding the balance between pursuing meaningful careers and being successful in what they do, with being productive family members, while trying not to lose themselves in the process.
Who are your ideal female icons?
My ideal female icons are women like former Governor General Michaelle Jean, First Lady Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Lisa Ling, Angelina Jolie (more for her activism than her acting!) and more.
Do you think there's equality at your workplace?
I think that there is overall equality in my workplace. All of the high level management positions are held by women, in fact there is probably an under representation of men in my unit.
Do you think a female prime minister or president would be any different than a male? Why and how?
I'm not sure that things would be any different if there was a female prime minister or president. The fact is that historically, that position has always been held by men and the decision-making process won't change, so whether it's by consensus or by vote, the prime minister or president still needs to be able to garner the support of her cabinet. In my opinion, when you get to that level, gender doesn't really play a role in how you govern and lead. It's about making decisions that are good for the country and for your country-people.
Do you think it's important to have an International Women's Day?
I think it is important to have an International Women's Day, particularly for young girls to appreciate what it means to be a girl and to grow into a woman. I think the Day needs to highlight the strength of women and provide examples of all the hard work that women all over the world do.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
I'm still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up! All I know is that I want to make a difference and put my efforts toward a meaningful purpose. I have always wanted to work with an NGO that tackles sustainability/conflict and security/ child poverty issues, so maybe that's where I'll go next.
How you feel about women represented in the media, film and pop culture? Can you see yourself in any of them?
Unfortunately, I find that women are being misrepresented a great deal in the media. Although you'll find more women on TV in news anchor and journalist positions, those images are much less frequent than the women who are scantily dressed and using their looks and bodies to get famous. It seems that all the work that has been done to elevate women from 'chicks' and 'babes' into strong, independent women is being undone. And what's worse is that it's being undone by women themselves.
I think I could see myself as a journalist or something, but probably not in film.
What do you consider 'female' attributes?:
Hmm...a female attribute or characteristic: sensitivity.
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