Women Who Migrated From Socially Conservative Countries to a Progressive One, How Has Your Life Changed? Women Spoke Up.

I can’t even begin to imagine what some women go through in certain parts of the world.

In some countries and regions, women are treated like second-class citizens and are forced to live their daily lives under oppressive laws and regimes.

But what happens when they decide to leave?

Women took to AskReddit to talk about how their lives have changed since they moved from a socially conservative country to a progressive one.

1. A new you.

“I lived in a hot desert country until i was 15 and never ever wore shorts.

3 years later in a liberal country and I finally worked up the courage last week to wear a pair of jean shorts in public.

Felt great!!”

2. Safe.

“I grew up in a conservative family in South Asia and now live alone in Australia.

The most significant way my life has changed is my sense of safety, both at home and in public places. At home, I live alone and being away from my conservative family has done wonders for my mental health. I don’t have to face constant criticism for my choices.

In public places, I still get sacred at night, but that has more to do with my triggers. I have the confidence to walk alone without anybody questioning/harrassing me. That’s not to say it hasn’t happened, but the frequency is much less. I have less fear and feel safe for the first time in my 22 years.

I also wear clothes that I ordinarily never would in my home country. My clothes are still quite conservative (sleeves, no skirts etc), but I feel better knowing that I chose what I wore and nobody controlled this choice.”

3. Means everything.

“It’s everything.

I can finally go for a walk without the fear of strange men following me and passing lewd comments. I can finally do the things I like (eating meat, having a drink of alcohol) without the implications of “what will the society say”.

We have a saying in my country, “A woman’s body carries the pride of the family”- what an awful weight to carry for any young woman. I can finally just exist and breathe.”

4. Best decision ever.

“In Peru, I was so pi**ed that I couldn’t wear dresses or shorts in summer because people judges you for your looks.

Or pervs catcall you. I have anxiety because of the harassment but finally I can enjoy my life and feel awesome because I moved to New Zealand.

Best decision ever.”

5. LOVE.

“PDA between couples, holding hands, kissing.

Seeing gay couples holding hands.

Just made me feel happy to see people getting to be open and in love.”

6. A big change.

“For the first time, I wore something above my knees and felt the air! I know it sounds silly but that to me tasted like liberalization.

Other than that I feel safe and can hope to make a better future for myself.

My rights are protected and I have discovered my voice.”

7. Oh, Canada!

“From the Philippines to Canada.

My curfew in PH was 6 PM. I was a teenager and “rebellious” so I decided I’ll be home by 8. Bad decision. My mom started calling my friends, went to the house of one of my friends that lived close by, and called the “baranggay tanod” (kinda like village police officers) to look for her missing daughter.

A year later in Canada, I worked until 12:30 am and no ride home. So I walked to what was approximately 5 baranggays over. My parents slept very soundly that night.”

8. Out in the open.

“I left south korea and came to America.

Now I can say that I am gay.”

9. The little things.

“I moved from India to Canada in 2017 at 17 years old.

Freedom felt freaking amazing! I could stay out after 7 pm. I could call anyone I like. When I was in India I was only “allowed” to have calls from family. My parents would get mad if anyone else called me. I never had sleepover, I had my first sleepover here.

It’s the little things. Being independent and following your dreams is the best feeling in the world.”

10. Wow.

“I was 4 when I moved to the Netherlands in 1979.

Moving to the Netherlands gave me the opportunity to escape my human trafficking (arranged marriage at 17). And live my life according to my rules. When I escaped, I left the culture and religion behind. Stuff I wasn’t allowed to do:

cut my hair short

wear make up

use tampons

go out with friends

drink alcohol

study what I wanted

have a boyfriend

tell people from the same culture off

You know which people gave/give me grief for having the audacity to live on my own and be child free (as a woman, how dare she!). People from the same and or similar backward honor cultures.”

11. Pretty awesome.

“I moved from Brazil to Portugal.

The first, most fascinating thing, was the end of cat-calling. The second is public safety. I could just walk home from whatever thing I was doing, even going to a night club, with little concern for my personal safety (I had one bad experience, but still nothing compared to Brazil).

But mostly, I am impressed with the separation of church and State. Although most Portuguese people are Catholic, almost nobody questions their drug policy, or comprehensive s**ual education. For them, these things are only logical. Also, the carnation revolution makes the far-right almost non-existent.

So yeah, it is pretty much awesome.”

12. A big difference.

“Since I moved to the UK:

I wasn’t told ONCE that I gained weight instead of a greeting.

Way less men look at my b**bs first so I feel less like a slab of meat with b**bs.

No one asked ONCE when I plan to get married. I may be asked once in a while how is my personal life, but that’s about it.

I’m not treated like the troll under the bridge if I don’t wear makeup and dress up every day like I’m going to a wedding.

I’m less afraid to stay later in town.

Now that I think about it, in the 5 years I’ve been here, no one groped me. Obviously, it still happens here, but I haven’t been groped once.

People are generally a lot more respectful of my privacy and personal space and it feels so fresh and new every time no one pries into my affairs or every time someone knocks at my room’s door instead of barging in or when they simply ask permission to enter.

When someone comes into a room/office to see someone else, they will still greet me, even though they don’t need anything from me.

Being childfree is acceptable here. You may be judged, but at least people are polite for the most part and won’t tell it to my face which is all I can ask for.”

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