Monday, March 7, 2011

Empower the “SHE”

Power India – Empower the “SHE”

Did You Know?
More than 300 million people in India live in absolute poverty-a number equal to all the people living in the US. The majority of these people are rural and female. Girls are a critically vulnerable group and a keystone of development in the country. More than half the girls in India marry before the age of 18. Younger, the bride the greater her chance – of being trapped in poverty and becoming malnourished, anemic and at risk for maternal mortality. More than 51% of women in India have no say in decisions about their own health. 65% of the school-aged children who are not enrolled in school are girls.

In some states of India women are still like the domesticated pets caged in the house. Females receive less health care than males. Many women die in childbirth of easily prevented complications. Working conditions and environmental pollution further impairs women’s health. In recent years, there has been an alarming rise in atrocities against women in India, in terms of rapes, assaults and dowry-related murders. Fear of violence suppresses the aspirations of all women. Female infanticide and sex-selective abortions are additional forms of violence that reflect the devaluing of females in Indian society. While women are guaranteed equality under the constitution, legal protection has little effect in the face of prevailing patriarchal traditions. Women lack power to decide who they will marry, and are often married off as children. Legal loopholes are used to deny women inheritance rights.

India has a long history of activism for women’s welfare and rights, which has increasingly focused on women’s economic rights. A range of government programs , social workers, activists have schemes and slogans for the security of women have been launched , although there appear to be no existing programs to address the cultural and traditional discrimination against women that leads to her abject conditions.
We should take the responsibility individually to enhance girls’ capability to demand and secure better services in such areas as health, education and family infrastructure. Increasing solidarity among women and girls forming a unified voice and support for the changes they seek to implement in their families and communities. Create awareness about key health, education and financial practices. Build confidence to influence family decisions and the community.

When this happens, then and only then powerful India will emerge.
-Anupama Shetty
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