Changing gender stereotype, one ‘Pink Ladoo’ at a time


Being a girl, I have always wondered why people don’t rejoice much when a baby girl is born in their homes. Why does it become a halfway joy? In many countries, especially in the Asian region, such as, Pakistan, India and China, girls are considered to be a ‘burden’ by birth.

Generally, when a baby comes into this world, typical celebrations comprise of bouquets of flowers, pink or blue balloons (depending on gender) and a lot of sweets that are distributed amongst family and friends. Why wouldn’t it be a moment for the parents to celebrate? It’s considered to be one of the happiest moments of any person’s life, right?

However, in many traditional South Asian families, there is a cut in that joy of celebration because it ends up being a baby girl. When Pakistanis/Indian sweets called ‘ladoos’ are not distributed at the birth of a baby with the saying ‘badiyah’ – the Punjabi word meaning congratulations – it is thought to be a symbol that the baby is a girl. In our time although, it has finally started to turn to be evident that girls are no longer measured to be a burden, the question still exists in a lot of families as to why does the giving out of ‘ladoos’ only associate with boys?

When I first saw the picture of the ladoo, and then moved on to read its caption, it filled my heart with joy to see it as one of the most beautiful sweets I have come across. Only for one sole reason. It was a sweet to celebrate a baby girl and remove gender inequality out of our lives! Being the only girl in my family, it elevated this feeling even more because just maybe, my parents didn’t even celebrate as they did for my brothers. But, that is all just about to change – all thanks to this one daughter.

This outstanding girl named Raj Khaira, London-based, Wolverhampton born founder, is altering this dogma with her new ‘Equality is Sweet (Pink Ladoo)’ Campaign, designed at wiping out gender discrimination. The awesome pink campaign intends to challenge the starting source of inequality, especially within South Asian communities where this problem exists, by motivating families to celebrate the birth of child regardless of any gender as happily and equally.

The campaign launched on Sunday, October 11, which is also the International Day of Girl Child, a day that has been demarcated by the UN to endorse girls’ human rights and highlight gender inequalities that persist between girls and boys.

The day will manifest at Birmingham Women’s Hospital by Raj and a group of volunteers, who will be giving out a box of pink ladoos to every baby born, be it a baby boy or girl. The purpose is to inspire families to accept with pride in the birth of all children heedlessly of gender and to celebrate the births of boys and girls equally. Tons of Asian sweet shops across the UK have agreed to offer pink ladoo to their customers in support of the campaign in hopes to further encourage gender equality.

Raj Khaira, founder of the campaign, said:

“Currently, there is no tradition to mark the birth of a girl.This gender-biased practice sends a message from birth to Asian girls that they are worth less than their male counterparts. I want to raise the status and value of baby girls and transform attitudes towards women by changing this tradition.”

I can’t wait to have a pink ladoo of my own, both the sweet and the little bundle of joy as a parent.