INDIA is a fast-growing economy, and almost half of the population are women.
If the nation wants to get into the league of developed nations, then empowerment of women is urgently needed.
Standing up for women’s equality should include women helping and empowering one another and speaking up. Women and girls facing significant challenges globally means they are under-represented in power and decision-making roles. They receive unequal pay for doing equal work, and often face legal and other barriers that affect their opportunities. An issue equally important to empowerment is the safety of women, especially in countries like India.
The crime rate against women have risen to such an extent that girls have to think twice before stepping out and don’t feel safe. Why should only boys and men have the freedom to roam without fear?
The news is dominated by crimes against women, not just in India but around the world, and it is extremely painful to watch, especially in a country where women are given the stature of goddesses.
Horrific life-destroying acid attacks have become a norm. There needs to be stricter punishments, stronger laws, and swifter courts, so victims can get justice instantly and those who would commit these heinous crimes in future are deterred.
To empower women and make them safer, men must be taught to respect women from an early age. They must consider women as equals, so they don’t even think of harming or oppressing them. If the mindset is changed, many of the crimes will end.
Another step forward is encouraging more girls to speak up if a crime has happened against them without fear. Raising your voice and fighting for justice is so important. Once a girl steps back with fear the criminal moves two steps forward. In short, crimes against women are stopping the growth of society. We must not put the blame on women and ask them to be extra careful. Instead, we must ask the men to change their thinking and work to make the world a safer place for women. There are lessons to be learned from all the crimes that are reported.
In an Indian village, a teacher committed a shameful act with a young girl. This case should lead to stricter checks on those working with minors, and a drive to encourage children to speak up if anything wrong happens to them.
Every girl should learn from crimes that are reported – don’t get into a stranger’s car or meet up with them alone, be extra careful when travelling and let loved ones know where you are, especially at night. Take self-defence classes, don’t let extra attention or gifts distract you and never trust too easily. Someone that gains your trust can easily destroy you. Have a communication channel open with your close family because they will love and protect you. If you are unable to speak to a family member, there will always be someone who will listen, whether it is a doctor, law enforcement officer, close friend or trained professional.
Finally, women and girls should not get demotivated, and always remember that we can empower ourselves. Don’t take a step back, speak up, support one another, educate others, and remember that you can change the world, and anything is possible.
Pari Bagmar is a 14-year-old student based in Maharashtra and a big fan of Hina Khan.