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A daughter can’t be a son….

My mother’s daughter was a son for my uncle and aunt. I……. I was their son until they gave birth to their own son about two years ago. In a typical Nepalese society, how can a family be completed without a son? My aunt had two beautiful and talented daughters, but still they were not enough for the stern society. I had been wry when my aunt was pregnant in spite of her poor health condition because my uncle incessantly used to speak against the gender discrimination. However, now they needed a son who would help them to nurture their property in the future. What a fortune my two sisters have brought! Not only this family, but also my parents had a son after two daughters. What a fortune of us…daughters!

My aunt had a complication at her second delivery. The doctor then had restricted her not to give the next birth, but the necessity and desire to have a son killed the fright of that danger. Then I feel how did I dare to tell myself their son? How can I ever be a son of someone when I am born a female in this world? My uncle and aunt would often lapse my thoughts into uncertainty asking me what I will do after my marriage. I wanted to hold their hands, but there were qualms about my words. I don’t blame them though because the birth of this son was definitely more necessity than desire. I had seen their necessity - there would be discussions in functions and celebrations mostly about their not having a son. Whenever the relatives congregated, they would point out the lacking of son in their family. They would share some stories like fearful death of old lonely people because of not having a son, and most of the time they would make up the stories to encourage them to give birth to a son.

I tried to fulfill the absence of a son in my aunt and uncle’s life. I used to tell them I will burn your corpses, and I will look after you but they would end those words with “……..but you are a girl” locking up my mouth. I know a daughter can’t be a son but can’t a girl hold her parent’s hands? I want to hold their hands, why don’t they give a chance? Should I yell at them...believe me?



pooza11's picture

Dont give up

Dear Deepti,
I can understand what you have written as i belong to Nepal as well can can feel the situation and your emotions.We women have so much of power that we can better make the world better than the mens.You are you loosing hope. Just prove them what you can do and how powerful a women can be. I know it hurts when somebody tries to lock your mouth by saying : you are a girl and your life is in the kitchen" . At that point of time we cant think of anything and gets frustrated and ask questions to ourselves. A majority of women go through this stage.
Never give up and show the strength of we women. I am sure one day your uncle and aunt will be so so proud of you being a women.
Love and Hugs

Deepti's picture


Thanks Pooza,

One thing in my story is that my uncle and aunt are actually proud of me, they still love me but they have a doubt on my ability. I am in this position because of them also. They are literate, still they think that girls can't do the thing those are meant to do by boys. In our Nepalese culture, as you know, there are more restrictions to girls than boys. Even though my parents always support me, they are so much bounded by the culture that they can't come out of the veil that we, women can bring change in the society.
And yes, I won't give up ever!


pooza11's picture

It is all due to the

It is all due to the traditions and restriction of our society. We all need to educate the society regarding the power of women.
Good to see your courage.

Love and Hugs

JaniceW's picture


Namaskar. It is difficult for you as you know yourself and know that you will stand by your words but for your parents, they see a history of tradition where only sons take care of the parents. Only time will prove that you will be there for them. Understand that there may also be a concern that depending on who you marry, your circumstances may prevent you from fulfilling your wishes. As daughters are seen to marry "out" of the family, this may be weighing on their minds too. You may move to another city, your husband may prevent you from being there for your parents, etc..

You have the power to set your own path and can, over time, prove you will always be there to hold their hands. Hardik subhakamana,

Deepti's picture

That's my point!

Namaskar Janice,

You caught the point. Yes, that's my story in fact. My uncle and aunt are literate, they have faith in me, they were and are proud of me but because of this culture and whatever, they must doubt on their daughter's words. Well, in my childhood, they had actually told me that they won't give birth to a boy because they were proud of their daughters. They were satisfied but later the culture pinched them everytime through the medium of relatives. Giving birth to the son was actually their "necessity rather than desire" as I have mentioned in the story. And such culture and tradition clearly show that women are somehow weaker than men. Their own life does not begin till their marriage; their childhood home is not actually theirs and even their birthplace is not theirs.

Even when the girls want to do something, there are lots of discouragement around and that really disappoints me. In case if my aunt had not given birth to a son, I would have been more encouraged to look after them. It does not mean that now I won't take care of them, just the amount of encouragement has declined.

Subhakamana tapailai pani.

Carri Pence's picture

the challenge

It is sad that one has to prove themself as a daughter more so than a son. Though, with loyalty and love you still can prove yourself and change the way that your uncle and aunt think. With changing how your family thinks you are challenging you culture and creating a more progressive community. With that in mind, you have the ability to change the face of traditions and family. What a powerful force you can be!

Deepti's picture

We are the power!

Dear Carri,

Not I, actually we, all the women of the world have the power to challenge the culture and traditions. The first step should start from our home. I have started from my home to raise voice against the gender discrimination. I am trying to analyze the reason why women are at the back, and I mostly found the culture and tradition that was established by this patriarchal society that is pulling us back. Why not to start to change this culture?

Thank you for the inspiration! :)



Mariam Azeem's picture


Dear Deepti,
Its is so unfortunate to be part of such culture who nurture the importance of son in the family. And the even sad thing is that a woman herself denies to take a chance on giving the daughter an opportunity to take the lead. why? they lack skill? or the society doubts the talents and courage a woman may have?

I know there are men in the society who focuses on the need of having a son still I know its the women at large who do it.The gender discrimination at home against girls is started by females at home....(its not a generalized statement but in my culture its the women who discriminate more).

This story has reminded me of the quotation

"a son is your son till he gets a wife,
a daughter is your daughter..
through out her life"

God Bless all of you!

Deepti's picture

That's true!

Dear Mariam,

Yes, I strongly agree with you. There are lots of cases where sons have proven themselves less caring towards their parents than the daughters. Actually even after the marriage, a daughter cares for their parents and her husband's parents. Why can't society see this? Inspite of the fact that daughters have mostly been caring the parents, they are discriminated. What can hurt daughters more than this?

God bless everyone!


Kakim's picture


Yap. I have never heart about it, your story teach us not everything can be nice. I think you should be more strong! You are really brave person, that don't afraid write about it)) Nevertheless everything will be OK, just believe it)))

Deepti's picture


Dear Kakim,

Thanks for the comment.

Hope all is well with you!

jap21's picture

Why we are here

Dear Deepti,

My body, my soul and my spirit feel the need to embrace you. May the love of your sisters here be enough for you to raise your voice loud, clear and firm throughout your life. We are here because of stories like yours. We are here because we need to know this is happening in the world and we need to work so that our cultures leave these stories behind.

Caring is a big plus on the survival strategy of every culture. With your insight, your love, and your firm words, you will show your family that you care for them, regardless of your gender. Remember that in a circle of one hundred people, you need to convince thirty of them to think the same way you do to turn around public opinion. Use this knowledge to not hesitate until you have these thirty people around you to change their minds about gender.

If you achieve this, you will be doing a great job in pro of humanity. Thanks for sharing this. We are here to support your efforts to convince your culture that a change is needed and in fact, cannot wait any longer.



Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva
Tarija - Bolivia
South America

Deepti's picture

Yes, Jackie.

Dear Jackie,

Namaskar. That's a lot consoling to me. We really need a change. We, all the women should hold hands to collapse such cultures which are of no value at all. That's such inspiring words! Thank you.

Thanks a million!

Nusrat Ara's picture

Dear Deepti, Just don't stop

Dear Deepti,

Just don't stop believing in yourself and the rest will fall in line of course with a lot of effort.



Deepti's picture


Thanks for the support, Nusrat.

harinees's picture

The only daughter

Hi Deepti

Thanks for your article. I am the only daughter of my parents (no siblings), and I still have some people occasionally ask me how my parents made that decision. You see, in India also it is the same with the girl child, and any parent who has a girl first usually tries again for a child so they may have a boy - never mind that there are no guarantees of having a boy the second time.

I have always tried to be the boy and girl to my parents. However, when I got married, my parents for the first time commented "this is the first time we are seeing the difference between having a girl and a boy". You see, marriage did change the equation. In India, women start calling their in-laws as mother and father. My husband and more so, his family, expected me to embrace his family as my own and become detached with mine. My mother in law, who is well educated and doing well in career commented once to me "But Harinee, a girl is a girl", meaning, there are certain expectations of a girl after marriage.

After seven years of marriage, my husband and I have slowly resolved some of our differences, and I am trying to get to a state of a normal relationship with my parents. I fear some of the damage has been done though because my parents, to keep their emotional health have started detaching themselves from me. As a woman who is married, I feel torn between my relationship with my husband and his family and my parents. You can bet a man never has to feel that way - he is never expected to bond with his in-laws the same way.

Thank you once again for writing about this topic.

Deepti's picture

But...a girl is a girl..

Dear Harinee,

For us, most of the sentences end up with ".....but you are a girl," "...but a girl is a girl." I don't understand why people need to remind us time and again that we are girls. We know that. One thing, marriage has come on your way too. It's not our parents who need boys; it's this society, this patriarcal society which demands boys; it's the culture. Now, it's a challenge for all of us to hold hands to change such culture.

Thanks for sharing your story. I wish your parent would not detach themselves from you; I hope they will understand that you are their same little kid who had brought happiness before marriage.


Kim Crane's picture

No limits!

No one should have to choose between embracing their gender and embracing a desired role within their family. I'm glad that after facing such painful discouragement you have emerged with such a positive outlook and a spirit to change the culture. Look at how many people you have inspired here with your determination to speak out! you can add me to the list. These issues are not just a problem in Nepal; all over the world parents struggle to support their children to develop into their fullest and truest selves because of what society says a boy or a girl should be.

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