Empowering girls at the grassroots is the need of the hour and none of need to understand the reason for the same. One may simply so a Google search on the subject and can find out the odds that little girls across the country are facing in terms of opportunity to grow, status among community and not to mention the cases of violence against them.
If one had to list out the reasons, there have been terrible wrongdoings by a section of the society that are holding Indian girls back and keeping half of the country’s girls’ population in the dark. While we take pride in being progressive and forward going nation, we cannot afford to ignore problems that grapple the country internally, losing cultural values being one of them.
It is to be noted that our girls can be empowered only through the stubborn insistence of decision makers at the top as well as initiatives of responsible citizenry including corporate groups – Hamari Pari is one such initiative. Great efforts are also being made by credible national and international organizations including the United Nations that have carved out the ideals of equality and are implementing many programmes from which the Indian women across the country can take hope.
While many girls are already exploring the possibility of education, have sense of ownership, and freedom to make their own decisions, the overarching cultural change seems to be quite far as many lives are yet to be touched and many conventional minds are yet to be changed.
Emmaline Pankhurst once said that freeing a woman is freeing a half of the human race because they represent a half of the world’s population. The process of reestablishing the cultural values has to begin at home, at every Indian home, when the girl is in her infancy. While mothers need to understand that their sons and daughters are equal, fathers have to become role models for their sons when it comes to breaking the gender biases. Each individual, a social organization, a business entity has to understand that girls do not need to be treated any better than everyone else neither do they need special attention, they just need to be considered equal – the fundamental rights as well as the duties of both genders are the same.
Nellie McClung’s advise – education to a woman means educating the family, the whole community – has been well understood by the world and needs no further explanation as the impact of the same is now visible across societies do not tolerate discrimination on the basis of gender.