Rohia Munavar  – Women Activist Who Has Smashed All The Stereotypes 

Taboos of being hijabi

Briefly describe your works and how you are contributing towards the society?                       I graduated as a Computer Science engineer, but deep down, I always knew that I wanted to be a writer. I did not just want to write for the sake of it but to create an impact. Hough I started small, as a content writer at THE TEACHERS DIGEST, I slowly improved my base and started writing for various platforms like HRZone, HRGazette, ThriveGlobal and Women’s Web.

My journey of writing about common issues faced by women in India, started when one of my friends suggested writing on a platform called MEDIUM. What started as an article  reviewing a Telugu movie, ignited something that kept me going for months. 

I started writing about issues like gender bias at the workplace, the taboo of being a hijabi and a feminist, issues faced after marriage by the modern woman, body shaming etc. I wrote to get my voice out there, but was overwhelmed by the response received by many women like me. Their support is what kept me going. 

Along with being a writer, I also am a full-time inbound marketer at Engagedly. I enjoy my work and because of my contribution at work, I also got nominated for Women In Corporate Awards 2019 in the EMERGING WICA category. It is at this event by Women’s web that I met so many wonderful women, who went through many unbelievable challenges in life, yet were able to turn it their way. This was the biggest turning point in my life. After this event, I decided to start a company which focuses on equal employment opportunities for the LGBTQA+. 

Though I am a writer, and there’s a need for educating myself on a larger scale, I wish to one day create a workplace that empowers the modern woman and the LGBTQA+. 

What made you start to work for women and which all various issues you are uplifting now?

Since my childhood, I have always respected my parents because they never discriminated anyone based on their gender and always believed in equal opportunities for both men and women. But after I grew up, the truth that I found out was very disheartening. It is 2020 now, and workplaces still hesitate to have women in leadership positions. 

Many women tend to brush off the misogyny and go with the flow when faced with discrimination. Their voices are selectively not heard. When I joined the tech industry, I saw this culture prevailing around me and I saw people ignoring it and normalizing it. Which is why, I started expressing my views fearlessly and started writing for various publications on MEDIUM like The Ascent, Fearless She Wrote, Cleopatras worldwide etc. 

Being a part of these publications encouraged me and gave me strength to be myself. This is one of the most important reasons why I still write. I want at least one woman to feel strong and choose herself after reading my articles. 

How was your journey till now and what changes you bought to the society?

My journey till now was both quite interesting and challenging. I faced a lot of criticism for my writing because it felt raw and unpolished and many MEN of the society thought that it was exaggerating. 

I was criticised by some of the people close to me and also by people who had no idea about me. This criticism gave me the validation I needed. I needed someone to take my writing to heart and it happened. Which is why, I wrote more of it and got validation from women who instantly related to it and loved it. 

I did not bring any large scale change to the society, but I believe that I have made all my readers stop and think from a different perspective. This in itself is an accomplishment but I aim to do it on a large scale soon. Soon, I am going to create a contribution platform for women who are criticised for having opinions and choosing themselves before the norms of the society, where they can share their opinions unapologetically. 

What did all you did to achieve the ambition of yours and which current causes are you looking for and which are the future causes?

Writing has always been my weapon. I have always journaled my feelings. More than just an outlet, these writings have been a way for me to evaluate my thoughts and be considerate of the feelings of people around me.

Though I was nominated for two awards based on my work, I still believe that there is a lot more to accomplish. Women have always had to go out of their way to prove their seriousness about their careers while it is considered the default option for men.

My future causes focus on slowly incorporating feminism at workplaces and make the workforce understand that it is important to respect one’s work without any bias based on gender, caste, religion, disability and sexual orientation.  

What is your body of work and how you are connected to women issues in general?

I do not have any solid body of work dedicated for my work towards women’s issues yet. I plan to one day set up a platform and encourage women to share their journeys and opinions on this platform unapologetically. 

While this is my short-term goal, I also aim to start a business where underprivileged women and the people from the LGBTQA+ are offered equal employment opportunities. After attending an event conducted by women’s web, I was inspired by Ms. Neelam Jain, Periferry whose passion is about making a difference to the transgender community. 

Which are the various issues on women and journals you have written and which are the various projects you have undertaken for the women upliftment?

Here are a few links to my works

  1. Finding the courage to love your body
  2. Being A Woman, A Muslim And A Feminist At Workplace
  3. My Body, My Rules
  4. I Watched Sam’s Majili And I am Uncomfortable

I have written many stories about issues faced by women like gender bias, normalization of emotional Abuse, body shaming etc. Many platforms like Women’s Web and ThriveGlobal readily accepted my contributions. I was also nominated for the WICA 2019 by Women’s Web as well as, THE ORANGE FLOWER AWARDS 2020, In the social impact category. According to me, women have a lot of potential within them and just need a small push to realize the truth. If my articles and stories, are helping at least one woman to think and realize their power, then my goal is accomplished!