The evening after writing yesterday’s post, I met an amazing American woman who recently finished her PhD in global health. She told me about her travels around the world to research her thesis, particularly about living in India for a year and visiting Nepal.
She loved Nepal: she was amazed by the compassion and serenity displayed by the Nepalese people after all the hardships they’ve endured.
But she hated the way they treated women.
“They treat us like shit,” were her exact words. “I don’t understand how their philosophy regarding their oppressors can be so progressive while their opinion of women is so archaic.”
In India, she said she constantly felt like she was channeling Gloria Steinem. At one point she lost her temper with a group of men and said, “I have a PhD, ok? Just because I have a vagina doesn’t mean you can disrespect me.”
Apparently, that comment didn’t go over well.
Regardless, I love meeting women like this – women who aren’t afraid to stand up for themselves and create controversy.
It’s so different from my strategy: live by example but don’t cause a big fuss about it.
When you’re traveling, it’s hard to know what’s appropriate. Where is the line between respecting other cultures and still asserting your rights?