My name is Simrat Sandhu and I am representing my city Brampton in the Miss Teen Canada-World 2012 pageant taking place this July!
I’m extremely excited to be participating in the national pageant because this has been a dream of mine from as long ago as I can remember. As a little girl, I used to love standing infront of my friends and family and giving “speeches” or telling them a funny story. My parents tell me I was always very social and was never camera shy. I feel as though relating to people and getting their attention to listen to what I had to say was a specialty of mine, and today those traits are evident in my confident and outgoing personality.
Growing up in Ontario, I was always found outdoors playing sports or exploring nature. I played soccer for a number of years and then went on to coach a 5 year old girls soccer team in the Brams United Soccer Club. While sharing the knowledge I had acquired from years of playing the sport and being a certified referee, I noticed that the young girls I was coaching were coping with a lot more than just learning how to play soccer. I realized that these young girls lacked confidence and self-esteem and this showed with the way that some girls would shy away from being a volunteer to demonstrate something they were particularly good at. Other girls were very attached to their parents and would be nervous about socializing with the other girls. Sometimes they isolated themselves in fear of being teased because of their soccer skills or other insecurities.
This is when I knew that the girls needed to be taught more than just dribbling and stopping the ball. They needed to be taught that failing sometimes is okay, just as long as you keep on practicing and working hard towards your goals. By the end of the season, the girls had improved their soccer skills and had won a lot of games. Watching them get their medals and trophies while smiling out at all of the teams sitting in rows in front of them made me proud. They had come a long way. With encouragement from their team-mates and the other coaches and I, the girls had become united and helped each other to succeed. The season ended, but the things I had learned about self-esteem and confidence issues stuck with me.
It occurred to me that my overall personality as a child was not ALL nature’s gift, but it was also a result of my parent’s constant support and encouragement. I was raised to believe I was equal to my brother, and therefore my parents had the same expectations for me as they did for him. I was expected to work hard in school and sports and whatever else I chose to take part in. Failure was not accepted. My siblings and I were taught to strive for perfection because the talent’s given to us were not meant to be wasted. Having friends from all different backgrounds showed me that sometimes being a girl meant that you were not expected to be as smart/athletic/confident as lets say your brother. This now makes me think that parents and culture have a major influence on children’s socialization to gender roles. Although in Canada men and women are considered equal, there are still several things that point towards sexism like the statistics about how men and women doing the same jobs aren’t paid the same. I’ve heard that women make anywhere from 60% to 90% of what men make.
Apart from this, I learned that girls all over the world are treated differently than men, usually denied the same rights and privileges as men. This is why I chose “Because I am A Girl” as my platform. Plan International’s Because I am a Girl initiative is a social movement to unleash the power of girls and women to claim a brighter future for girls in the developing world.
When a girl is educated, nourished and protected, she shares her knowledge and skills with her family and community, and can forever change the future of a nation. It’s that powerful.
It only takes ONE girl to change the world.
Stay tuned for updates on how I will be raising money through fundraisers I will host in Brampton for Because I am A Girl, and about the differences the money I raise will make for girls in developing countries.
If you would like to deposit a donation directly through my personal fundraising page, you may visit the following link and click Sponsor Me!
Thank you for visiting my blog!
Miss Teen Brampton-World 2012