Sikh woman elected as council member in California

Washington: A Sikh woman has been elected for the first time as a council member of California's Yuba City that has one of the largest concentration of Sikhs in the US.

The first women of Sikh descent to be elected as Yuba City council woman, Preet Didbal was sworn in by her daughter, Arianna Khan and her mother, Gurbaksh Didbal, today. "This is a big day. It is very emotional and I still can't believe it," Didbal was quoted as saying by KCRA 3 News.

Currently a correctional health care services manager in the California Department of Corrections, Dibal said she encountered some of that traditional thinking during her campaign and was taken aback by it.

"In general, the women have always been more subservient and have followed the lead versus being the leader. Our culture is very different and hopefully starting to open up and educate young girls not to be subservient. It's exciting to be an example," Dibal was quoted as saying by the local Appeal Democrat newspaper.

"We heard questions from some of the older generations about why I'm doing this and that it's a man's role. It's a milestone we just created. Now every girl will be under the impression that they can do it," she said.

"It takes time to change things and educate people, but it became a position that my mom stood by to say that if this is what a child wants to do, we have to support it. It has been the role of men through the years, but why can't our girls do it" Dibal said.

Dibal holds an associate degree in nutrition, a bachelor's degree in physical education and a master's in public administration. Yuba City in California has one of the largest concentration of Sikhs in any American city.

It is known nationwide for the annual Sikh Day parade, which is attended by the thousands of people from across the country. In 2009, Kash Gill became the first Sikh American to be elected as Mayor of the Yuba City.

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