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CARLA NICOLE WILLIS

SONGSOPTOK THE WRITERS BLOG | 3/10/2015 |




SONGSOPTOK:  What is your earliest memory about being a girl?

CARLA:  My earliest memory about being a girl I was with my father in my parents’ bedroom. And he sat me in front of a mirror. I was so shocked because I had never seen my image before. That is the first memory of being a girl.

SONGSOPTOK:  Do you remember any incident(s) from your childhood where you witnessed gender discrimination? What are your thoughts about that? Do you think gender discrimination starts right through our home? A lot of studies indicate that the gender segregation starts in school. What is your experience?

CARLA: I don't recall seeing any gender discrimination in my case. But I must say because I was an only child and pretty sheltered my parents protected me from a lot of adversities such as this. It depends if gender discrimination stems from your home environment on a one on one basis. I do think gender discrimination is shameful and should not be tolerated. Well there is a sense of gender discrimination in schools because of the various perks one may receive with high athletic ability in the male sports. That's a given and also encouragement to pursue certain careers for males dominated in schools as well vs. encouraging young girls to pursue higher levels of management/administrative roles.
In my experience I pursued a clerical role and did so because that was my strength in school. Not to say I was discriminated against it just was my strong suit at the time.

SONGSOPTOK:  Now going on to college / university – what according to you were the advantages / disadvantages of being a woman? Do you think that women were treated fairly by the educational institutions?  We would like to know your experiences.

CARLA: The advantages of being a woman at college allowed for us to have an opportunity to pursue our goals in a setting that was individualized per student. The disadvantage is you had to have clear goals what you wanted otherwise the indecisive students didn't get the proper encouragement to seek their purpose. In my experience yes at the college I attended I do feel the women were treated fairly. My college life was short lived I decided to pursue my career but while I attended college I did have a positive experience.


SONGSOPTOK:  A lot has been written about the unsafe environment in the world for women, especially on public transports. What is your personal experience? How does it differ from the environment in your country? Are the streets of your city is safer for women? If so, what is your analysis of the differences?

CARLA: I used to ride on public transports and did not witness any harm while utilizing them. However when I did use the transportation I made sure to pay attention to my surroundings and was protected with pepper spray. I must say it is truly important to be mindful at all times when riding on public transportation in all countries. My experience wasn't for me negative. However I have seen brutality revealed in other countries unfortunately. The streets in my city are not safe for not only women but men. The city I reside in is dangerous. 


SONGSOPTOK:  According to you, to what extent is the patriarchal society responsible for the status of women? How does it works, evolves and shapes the individual woman.

CARLA: I think a patriarchal society diminishes the plight of women and shouldn't be. Because if there are no women in powerful positions then women's rights, value and purpose is defamed to only be used for sexual needs, breeding and housework. And that's a shameful environment for women to bare and endure.

SONGAOPTOK:  Do you think that social status (caste, class, affluence) plays a significant role in how women are treated in the Third World countries? Are there significant differences in the status of women in your country? If so, then to what extent?

CARLA: Absolutely no question social status demands if a woman will be treated respectfully or used as a societal slave. It's imperative for survival of women in Third World countries to have social status otherwise they are implored in a life of hell.

SONGSOPTOK:  Would you say that in your country, there is equal treatment of women in the workplace? Are women given the same opportunities as men? Has the situation evolved compared to the earlier generation? If so, then how? What are the mechanism and the dynamics of the changes!

CARLA: In my country there are social differences based on income and/or celebrity. The way the media holds people of wealth or celebrity to a higher regard isn't necessarily based on their character and humanity more than it is highlighted based on their celebrity/wealth.

SONGSOPTOK:  Has the position and status of women evolved at home compared to your mother’s generation? Do women today have more decision-making power within the family structure? Can you explain your answer?
CARLA: Treatment of women in the workplace is definitely different than men. Women do get less monetary than men. They can be placed in situations sexually by being harassed and made to do sexual favors to pursue their career status. There is a cost to doing so diminishing yourself value to sexually please someone to obtain a higher position is distasteful but has and is happening. I think corporations are implementing infractions for those employees corrupting the work environments with toxic activities as such. But there is still work to do. I think women are given better opportunities than in the past generations. But I do think the compensation should reflect equally regardless of gender. Women are able to work in higher positions in my country and have opportunities that my mother’s generation did not have. And because many women are making a higher salary than their husbands the family dynamic has changed. There are more single mothers and more unemployed fathers after the changes happened.

SONGSOPTOK:  According to you, what needs to be done to improve the situation of women all over the world? How can women contribute – at home, at work, at social & political levels? How can they establish the right equilibrium between the state power and feminism because state power is basically patriarchal in nature?
CARLA: I believe the situation needs to be changed by placing women in positions of power. By doing so, it implements a voice that would otherwise be silenced and unheard. Women's voices are valuable and impact an array of wisdom and knowledge otherwise diminished when unnoticed. There's a difference between feminist and female pride. To down either sex and their importance is detrimental we must incorporate both voices. Women can contribute if there are rights involved otherwise their value will be depleted. They must first have their human rights.


SONGSOPTOK:  Violence against women is a global problem today that manifests itself in different forms in different societies. And the problem seems to be growing every day in spite of preventive measures. What, in your opinion, should be the priority? How do you see the role of the civil society in this context? Do you think women are still marginalised in our civil society, which is the actual stumbling block to advance further or making any significant improvement?

CARLA: The main priority for the violence to stop are to increase the repercussions. There should be in place the necessary policing that handles the stake of an infraction of physical violence. It will still happen but should begin to diminish if there is follow-through to the sentencing of the crime. I see that the improvement is only marginal and therefore is not increasing awareness or substantial improvements to what type of preventative measures are correcting the problem. In civil society the woman can still be marginalized but it can be stopped if there's an organized Union to increase awareness and implode violence communally.

SONGSOPTOK:  What are your personal views on women’s empowerment? What should be the priorities here (economic / social / cultural/ educational….) especially in the context of our patriarchal society where women are considered to be the reproduction machine denied of dignity and liberty?

CARLA: Well I will reiterate what I said earlier women are equally impactful in any and all communities and need to be implemented in the society with equal rights. To be born means we have purpose. But if a woman cannot digest her human rights then she is being used for unjustly uses. And the fear is due to a marred idea there will be retaliation for the injustices of women. And unfortunately eventually someone will come to know there's a cost to everything in life.

SONGSOPTOK:  Do you think the situation of women can evolve in the years to come? What is your vision for the future?

CARLA:  I do believe the situation can evolve however it's going to take a dualism with both genders to make it happen. So we must begin to involve both genders to infuse the improvement of the gender discrimination. I have a hopeful vision of the future but also have a concern. Because many don't realize how impossible it is to have a world without the influence of women.

[CARLA NICOLE WILLIS. POET, WRITER]




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