Girl Child- Struggling, competing and marching ahead!
The gender discrimination is a major problem that is faced by girls in every corners of the world. Conservative outlook of people and religious mystification usually contributes to worsening the situation while as misconception still prevails in the present age of digitalization as many parents living in rural as well as urban areas think that daughters are lesser than sons in various capacities.
Daughters are ANGLES sent from above to fill our HEART with unending LOVE. The society should also come forward to pack up all social discrepancies prevailing since ancient periods. The social evils like child marriage, dowry system, alcoholism etc. are sharp speed breakers in the path of all round development of the girls, which could not be tackled without active involvement of the society. In the age of globalization, slowly but steadily changes in the mindset of societies are happening, which is a positive sign.
Violence against girls and women including domestic violence, eve-teasing, molestation, rape, gang-rape or acid attacks are reported on a daily basis and the government should not show any mercy for such acts of crime. Domestic violence is also a huge issue in the society whose main cause is dowry system and alcoholism. While there is law against dowry system, but alcoholism is prohibited only in a few states leaving this serious concern unattended.
Home is said to be the safest and secured place for girls but unfortunately, a large numbers of sexual abuses happen within the confines of homes and are executed by close relatives. In schools, girls are made aware of the ‘good touch and bad touch’ while as psychological empowerment is also a crucial factor that needs to be incorporated in efforts to equip womenfolk to stay strong and demand their due. Repelling a mindset that they (womenfolk) belong to weaker sex and the labeling of a variety of restrictions and binding that are designed for them must end.
Female feticide is another major issue in our country which affects the demographics besides being one of the worst crimes against humanity. There are also some communities which practice infanticide i.e. the act of killing the girls after birth- although it is illegal and punishable, but the practice is still prevalent in some section of our society. Unfortunately, for such inhuman acts mostly women- whether they be grandmothers, mothers, aunts, sisters- are responsible. As per Census 2011, the sex ratio in India was 943 and girl sex ratio was just 919, reflecting a horrible picture in the country. The decline of child sex ratio from 927 in 2001 to 919 in 2011 reveals that the society is not just depriving girls of their rights, but also depriving them of their right to live.
Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of United Nations have been designed to bring the world to various life-changing “Zeros” by 2030, which includes discrimination against women and girls too.Target-5 of the Goals is specifically concerned with Gender equality and empowerment of all girls.
Little Girls with dreams becomes women with vision. So, empowerment of girls is must for brighter tomorrow. India has achieved a tremendous success in women empowerment in last few decades. In major parts of the country, girls are no more confined within the four walls of the house, rather they are taking equal part in society building and breaking the boundaries and barriers imposed on them in earlier periods. Women have established themselves in all fields; whether it be engineering, medicine, law, police, aviation, journalist, agriculture or be it fine arts including dancing, modeling, music, games and big or small screens. There is hardly any profession where women haven’t made a mark for themselves and are competing with their counterparts.
In India, the Central as well as State governments have launched multifarious schemes for girls so that there remains no discrimination and women are given the opportunity to march forward in life. KGBV under Samagra Shiksha, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Girls Hostel under RMSA, Residential schools, National Programme for Education of Girls at Elementary Level (NPEGEL),Pradhanmantri Matri Vandana Yojana, Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana and other ambitious schemes of Government of India have added new dimension in the progress of this idea. Centrally sponsored educational schemes including District Primary Education Programme-DPEP (1991-2005), Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan -SSA (2001-2018), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan -RMSA (2009-2018), Free & Compulsory Education Act 2009, Samagra Shiksha-SS (since 2018-19) and National Education Policy-NPE, 2020 are in place to ensure that women don’t lag behind in any way. The impact of these programmes is being noticed as the female literacy rate of just 8.86% in Census 1951 has plunged up to 65.46% in Census 2011. Moreover, several State governments have also initiated ambitious schemes, which are changing the age-old scenario.
(The author is a technocrat & academician. He holds Master in Engineering from M.N. Regional Engineering College, Allahabad/Prayagraj)
The writer is a technocrat & academician