At what point in your life did you consider yourself a feminist? Was it an event or a process?
It was a process. While I always had questions on why there was this steep demarcation on the roles undertaken by men and women, for the longest time I was made to believe that this was the norm and no questioning (be it from me or my mother) was ever welcomed. But after high school, when I got exposed to the wider socio-political discourse, I started challenging inequalities around me and that I believe initiated me into the world of feminism.
Who most influenced your awareness of your feminism?
My mother. For her, I could achieve anything in life. She always fought for me and for my rights. She always spoke with conviction on how one cannot be stopped from pursuing his/ her dreams just on the basis of gender.
In what ways has your feminism informed your life choices?
Every second of my life has been greatly influenced by feminism. I feel empowered and standing up not just for my own rights but for people around me. It has only made me more independent and has given me the agency to take my own decisions.
In what ways do you share your feminism with others?
Through my work, writing, everyday conversations and engaging with people even if they have a different perspective, I share my opinions, ideas and understand their experiences. After all, engagement is all about understanding different perspectives.
Describe your vision of a feminist world.
A world where everyone is treated equally, where differences are respected irrespective of one's gender, nationality, colour or class. A world where every space is safe and creates equal opportunities for all communities.
How I Define Feminism:
Equal rights for all.
Sharda holds a Master’s in Gender, Media and Culture from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Having worked as a communications professional in the social sector, she is extremely passionate about using the digital space for empowering the society and improving citizen participation at varied levels. Her main areas of interests are human rights, gender and governance.
Sharda strongly feels that education is a power changer and an essential means of empowerment. And it is this belief that was instrumental in her choice of working at Aidha, a Singapore based not-for-profit organisation that provides financial literacy and management skills to foreign domestic workers and lower-income women in Singapore so that they can create sustainable futures for themselves through financial education.
Sharda is also a strong advocate of using art for addressing various social issues. She is volunteering with The Red Elephant Foundation , an an initiative that is built on the foundations of story-telling, civilian peacebuilding and activism for sensitisation on all drivers of peace - gender, race, nationality, colour and orientation. While she manages the Foundation’s social media initiatives and digital outreach, Sharda also occasionally writes on topics related to gender and undertakes research on how one can use art and creativity to address the different drivers.