At the recent Indian conference on Women and Development, the author of this letter, who is working on a doctorate in sociology, read a paper on "The Status of Women in Science." Currently, she is a staff member of the Research Unit on Women's Studies at the Shreemati Nathibai Damodar Thackersey Women's University in Bombay. S.N.D.T. Women's University was founded in 1916 and is the only university in India exclusively for women.
You are sixteen? twenty? or just ten? The years will soon pass and you will be a woman. What will you be like? Like me? my mother? grandmother? Some of you will be like us, but much of you my greatgrandmother would not recognize.
These are times of change, of questioning, of uncertainty. Every mother wants to "protect" her daughter so that she may be ready when the time comes, but she rarely succeeds. Torn between the desire to "warn" and yet to retain the innocence of girlhood, she ends up by being harsh. Between the need to conform to social imperatives and her own desire to spare her daughter, she can find no solution. Let the dilemma end. Let mothers speak freely to their daughters.