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Student article: Tarang shares her “Ambassador for a Day” experience

"My Ambassador for a Day program is coming to a close, and as a participant, I had many inspiring experiences. One such experience was on 28 October, where I met three women Members of Parliament of Denmark: Katrine Robsøe, Anne Berthelsen and Mette Abildgaard -- who shared insights, provided advice, and answered questions.

One topic was handling 'guilt' and 'shame' that one feels in expressing an opinion different from others. Their advice was -- be professional, and be calm, and you learn to deal with it over time. I have noticed a lot of girls hesitate, whereas boys express in an outspoken manner. Also, the girls will often add something like "I'm sorry but..." or "I'm not sure but...", or "Maybe... ". These openings dilute the impact of the views. Many girls use these to avoid appearing harsh, and there is an associated sub-conscious shame with that, which girls try to avoid. The approach of presenting it professionally and calmly will inspire more confidence.

Another great point during this session was about ‘intimidation’. The MPs mentioned -- sometimes your own thoughts interfere with your perception, making you "your own worst enemy", as you are quick to criticize yourself. This tends to happen more with young girls, making them prone to self-doubt, often leading them to not pursue a field in which they could have been quite successful.

In my experience, this often happens in school settings where boys outnumber girls. In my Physics class, e.g., there are four girls, and 12 boys. Girls don't volunteer many answers, even though they know or are quite close. Whereas boys freely answer, even though they may not be sure at all. In fact, in retrospect, there have been times when I didn't contribute, because I kept over-thinking my words. Now, after hearing from these women politicians, I realize that I am not alone in feeling like this, and I can cope with it.

Meeting these women Members of Parliament truly broadened my perspective, and helped me introspect deeply. Many of us often feel guilty, or shameful, or intimidated in many everyday settings, but knowing how to handle these situations will help taking up opportunities that we otherwise may miss."

A big thank you to Tarang for sharing her experience with us.