The Girl child and the woman
M worldview on this is that if you look at hotspots of the world ( I mean where conflicts are rife), one can always discern a pattern of subjugation of the girl child and the woman; the chances of her dreams of her flowering into womanhood with an equal chance to be part of society, and as an equal partner to a man when she marries looks remote...This pattern is universal.....it exists in India too, wherever the general level of standard of living is below par, there one can assume that the girl child and women are subjugated.
I dream of a society, where every girl child can not only achieve her dreams but also flower into a woman who can hope to live in harmony and dignity within the family, as an equal partner to her husband and be recognised for her contributions to societal well being. This can happen only if she is given the chance to pursue her dreams of completing schooling, completing college and getting a job, which will make her feel confident and strong. She should think of marrying only after she attains economic independence.
A series of policy approaches will enable dignity and position for women in our society
- Age bar for being considered as a child should be raised to 18 years which is unfortunately 14 years in the Child Labour Act
- No child, boy or girl shall be left out of school or allowed to drop out under any circumstance. The state shall ensure this through mechanisms that I have illustrated in my "out of school children tracking" intervention in Krishnagiri district, which enabled about 10,000 children to be brought back to school and retained.
- Our marriage law should be amended to raise the minimum age for marriage of a girl from the present 18 years to 21 years.
- Advocacy initiatives at the family level should be intensified to enlighten the family members of the importance of girls education.
All these and the yeoman services of veterans and inspirations in the field of women's empowerment like Vandana Shiva, Malala, Kulandei Francis etc will one day catapult India as the first Country to have absolute equality between men and women. Boys and men should be brought up such that every girl or woman would feel safe in his company or safe in the company of men.