What's in A Girl's Name? Everything

BlogHer Original Post

I loved picking out my daughter’s name. As a woman and a mother, it seemed like the most important decision I would ever make. I was so afraid of screwing it up. What if her name didn’t fit who she was? What if kids made fun of it? What if she hated it when she grew up? I tell you this because naming a child is such a deeply human and universal thing. It gives our children a place in the world. A sense of self. A legacy. Sometimes even a future. It’s one of the first things we ask a child: What’s your name?

This is why I wanted to share this video. It’s about 285 girls in India. The girls had names, but their names were “Nakusa” or “Nakushi”--or “unwanted” in Hindi. Yes, their names literally meant “unwanted.” Because girls are considered less valuable to their families in Maharashtra state than boys.

This is beyond sad. And infuriating. And when I first heard about these girls I wanted to weep. But then I watched this uplifting video. After the latest census revealed a sizable gender gap between boys and girls, something remarkable happened. Hundreds of people opposed to gender discrimination held a ceremony in the state’s rural Satara district to give the girls real names. To give them a place in society. One 15-year-old girl chose the name Ashmita. It means “very tough.”

I run so many posts about the horrible things that happen to women and girls. Trying to bring awareness. Trying to provoke change. When something this beautiful comes along, it gives me hope that life for girls sometimes gets better.

role models

Credit Image: Credit Image: © Lonely Planet Images/ZUMA Press

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