In a world that strives on negativity, where every newspaper and news channels are competing against each other by showing you the worst the world can be, it is important to read, know, and get inspired from people who have done, and are doing path-breaking work and are our helping our country reach new heights every day. These role models not only inspire us but also make us aware of all the achievements we have made till now.

However, when we talk about role models and their achievements, more often than not it’s the image of a man which comes to our mind. It’s important to remember our female heroes and role models, especially when the entire world is busy portraying the male ones, and the book, She Can You Can by Garima Kushwaha and Anastasia Damani does exactly that.

She Can You Can is a short biography book with a unique alphabetic format. It portrays lives, struggles and achievements of 26 Indian women, starting from A for the spirited mountaineer Arunima Sinha to Z for the seasoned performer Zohra Sehgal, breaking the glass ceiling in various fields like science, sports and entertainment. From women winning against men at sports, piloting outer space and running a billion dollar company – this book has women from all the fields one can aspire to succeed in.

The book, primarily meant for children, is an equally interesting and inspiring read for adults. The language, though simple enough to make it accessible and cater to young adults and children, does not reduce the book to a comic for kids, rather it introduces them to some serious and burning issues involving gender inequality, patriarchy, and stereotypes about women in a subtle and interactive manner. It encourages one to be a feminist and proud about being a woman.

The biographies are short yet precise and are portrayed through some beautiful and colourful graphics, making it perfect for those bedtime story moments and to teach your children about feminism.

What is unique about this book and the thing I loved the most is its inclusivity. Not only in the women it features, which includes women who are conveniently forgotten by our casteist and ableist society, like Dalit women and women with disability, but also in its inclusivity towards the various profession, which the society rarely treats as a profession, like dancing and stand-up comedy. Often our conversations around professional achievements are limited to technical fields like medical, science or engineering.

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History has been dominated by men for an awfully long time. It is because of this reason that they got to shape and write it as they please.

By featuring women who not only excelled in these unconventional fields but also became legends, it offers the same respect to them which the society usually associates with conventional fields. It encourages readers to pursue their own exceptionally beautiful paths. There might be struggle and people may not understand you at first, just like they didn’t understand all the pioneers featured in this book, but keep hustling and success will follow you because if they can, you can!

History has been dominated by men for an awfully long time. It is because of this reason that they got to shape and write it as they please. Women were not even allowed to create history for a very long time. It’s the constant struggle and long fight that women have fought, both of history and present, that now we are able to come forward and rewrite these history books and make our places in the future ones for the next generation. We ought to remember these women. Intellectual legacy is important and extremely powerful. When we remember them and when they are known, they become more than ‘just their gender.’ They don’t remain a side note in a male centric book written by those same men; instead they become the book themselves.

It’s important to remember our female heroes and role models, especially when the entire world is busy portraying the male ones.

It is sad how the millennials are unable to name even 10 Indian female role models, mostly because they are never made aware of all the achievements of these wonderful women. This is extremely toxic and harmful as it fosters the myth that women have not done enough for our country. Not having role models the same gender as them make young girls doubt their potential – ‘if they couldn’t, can I?’ This book aims toward changing this narrative by giving us female role models from diverse fields so that an entire generation of young Indians can connect, relate and learn about gender equality and smash the patriarchy, one achievement at a time.

Also read: Book Review: Spreading Your Wings, A Health Infocomic For Young Girls

Featured Image Source: Harper Broadcast

About the author(s)

Suman is a Law Graduate from HNLU and has completed her LL.M. with a specialization in Human Rights from Amity University. Her interest areas are Gender equality, LGBT rights and Refugee Laws. Bit of an Otaku who has learned most of her life lessons from Anime. FYI, she laughs when she is uncomfortable.

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