Women’s Day Special: Shirley Setia says, ‘I have PCOS, I grew up with bad acne but overtime I’ve learnt to heal’ – Exclusive – Times of India

Music is universal and both men and women enjoy the spiritual and emotional graph of music equally. As we celebrate the glory of women in our lives on the occasion of International Women’s Day in our special series, musical prodigy Shirley Setia speaks to ETimes about how we, together as a society, can make a better place for women and what they want, her personal experiences and more.
What is that one thing you’ve done as a woman that makes you proud?

Perhaps shifting 12300 kilometers away from my family to make a career in the entertainment field, is something I pat myself on the back for. I was always very protected by my parents growing up so this has been a challenging yet rewarding experience for me.
What are the important things needed in a place to create a supportive and safe environment for women both at home and in the workplace?

To create a supportive and safe environment for women, it is important to have clear policies in place that protect women from harassment and discrimination. At home and in the workplace, it’s important to have a culture that values inclusivity and respect encouraging open and honest communication.

What does freedom of expression mean to you?

Freedom of expression is essential. It allows me to express my ideas and emotions through my music without any fear. As a woman, it also enables me to share my unique perspective and be part of a broader movement towards greater gender equality and representation in the industry. Overall, freedom of expression is critical for me to create honest and impactful music and contribute to a more diverse and inclusive, cultural landscape.

What will it take to eradicate the negative perception associated with feminism?

To eradicate negative perceptions of feminism, we need to challenge stereotypes and misconceptions about what feminism is and what it stands for. We need to educate people on the true definition of feminism and its goals of achieving gender equality and justice for all individuals.

Who has been your biggest support In life and why?

My biggest support in life has been my family and friends. They have always encouraged me to pursue my dreams and have supported me through both successes and challenges.

If you were in a position of power, how would you change the assumptions made by men about women?

If I were in a position of power, I would work to change assumptions made about women by promoting gender equality and diversity in all aspects of the organization. I would also encourage open and respectful communication among all to break down stereotypes and misconceptions.

How can men contribute to achieving equality and mutual respect?

Men can contribute to achieving equality and mutual respect by being allies and actively supporting women’s rights and issues. This can involve advocating policies that promote gender equality, calling out sexist behaviour and language, and actively listening to and amplifying the voices of women.

What are your expectations from men for creating a healthy, long-lasting relationship and keeping the spark alive?

I personally find loyalty very attractive, and I would expect a man to be loyal to me and also to keep the communication going to keep the relationship healthy.

Did you ever have body image issues? How did you overcome them?

I think I still do, because I have PCOS and I grew up with very bad acne. But over time I have consulted with doctors to manage my hormones and am also trying to follow a diet that helps me keep it in control. And yes it’s never a linear graph, there will always be days where I have acne again – and it happens with my constant travels and hectic schedules, but it’s okay. You have to understand your body, be patient and give it time to heal.

How would you address the issue of pay disparity when it comes to gender comparisons?

The gender pay gap has significant economic and social consequences and requires a multifaceted approach to address factors like discrimination, occupational segregation and differences in education and experience. Having equal pay is essential to ensure basic fairness and equality for all people, regardless of gender.

Have you ever faced unwelcome sexual advances from your co-workers? How did you tackle a tricky situation like that?

No, I have not.

What advice would you like to give to your younger self?

Advice I would give to my younger self is to believe in myself and my abilities, to pursue my passions fearlessly, and not be afraid to speak up for what is right.

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