Girls, Uninterrupted. Introducing: #GirlUpIndia

 by
Education , Leadership

It is a very exciting time to be a woman in India right now.

By Aditi Arora, Girl Up In-Country Consultant, India

I don’t remember when and how I became an advocate for women’s rights and equality. But when I look back and analyze, I recall trying to make sense of why my friends were never allowed to play football, or served last at the table or not permitted to go out after dark. It bothered me because my parents never made my sister and me feel any less important. I was encouraged to take up horse riding and even pursue my passion of dancing, which was not considered to be an activity for a woman from a ‘respectable household.’ I grew up in Jammu and Kashmir, India, which is one of the highest militarized regions in the world. Everywhere I looked, every newspaper I read, talked about the number of men killed, captured or maimed, the territories conquered or the number of arms and ammunition procured. Nobody talked about the experiences of women in war or about the rapes and how they were navigating their lives through war and the intricacies of their traditional families. I ended up studying feminist theory in college that gave me a unique lens to analyze my world and the inequalities I witnessed. I became relentless in my pursuit to help the women’s cause. I worked extensively for women in land mine affected countries like Democratic Republic of Congo and Afghanistan and on maternal and child health in India. I hope for a world in the future where girls and women in my country have opportunities and freedom to pursue their dreams and fulfill their life goals.

In India, the feminist movement has been disjointed and mostly led by men in the initial phases. However, it is a very exciting time to be a woman in the country right now. Progressive legislations and policies are being formulated and implemented by the government while girls and women are breaking the ‘glass ceilings’ in fields that are considered to be traditional male bastions. From making their mark in the field of sports to breaking ground in the field of science, women are smashing gender barriers. They are not just venturing into areas stereotypically reserved for men, but are also outshining them. Women are surpassing all hurdles of discrimination, prejudice and stereotypes to reclaim their lives and galvanizing other women and girls to follow suit. I am especially in awe of some of these trailblazers who are making headway in sports, politics and science:

WOMEN PACKING A PUNCH IN SPORTS

Aditi Ashok- leading the way in the sport of Golf

Considered to be a ‘gentleman’s game’, Aditi has single-handedly changed how society views golf players. This 19-year-old turned professional in 2016 and since then has given some stellar performances in the international tours. Despite the lack of infrastructure and support from the government to women golfers, Aditi persevered to get into the top 100 players of the world and is leading the way for more women.

INDIAN WOMEN IN THE FIELD OF SCIENCE

 Minal Sampath, aspiring for the stars!

Minal is a systems engineer who worked in a windowless room for over 18 hours a day for two years to make India’s Mars Mission possible. It is one of India’s most ambitious space projects till date and Minal played an instrumental role in its success. She was also conferred the Young Scientist Merit Award by ISRO for her contribution in the Telemedicine programme. She is one of the few women who are working in ISRO but has paved the way for many others.

Minal’s story can be read here.

INDIA’S FIRST FEMALE FIGHTER PILOTS

Mohana Singh, Avani Chaturvediand Bhawna Kanthhave made history by being the first women to be admitted to the Indian Air Force (Fighter Squadron). Before the government opened combat roles for women in 2015 on experimental basis, women were limited to non-combative roles in the armed forces. By flying fighter planes and entering into this strictly male bastion, this trio has provided other women inspiration to crush stereotypes.

WOMEN MAKING THEIR MARK IN POLITICS

This year, 24- year old Shahnaaz Khanbecame the youngest and the most educated female Sarpanchof the Garhazan village in Bharatpur.  “People in Mewat area don’t send their daughters to schools. I will present before them my own example to show what education can do for a woman,” said Shahnaaz after taking oath as the Sapranch, as reported in Hindustan Times.Being a doctor, she is also committed to issues of sanitation and safe drinking water.

निरन्तरलड़कियां

-अदितिअरोरा

मुझेयादनहींकीमैंकबसेमहिलाअधिकारोंऔरबराबरीकीअधिवक्ताबनगई| आजजबमैंपीछेमुड़करसोचतीहूँतोमुझेध्यानआताहैकीकिमेरीसहेलियोंको  फुटबॉलखेलनामनाथा, खानेकीमेजपेसबसेआखिरीमेंखानापरोसाजाताथा, अँधेरेमेंघरसेबहारनिकलनाभीमनाथा| येसबचीजेहमेशासेमुझेपरेशानकरतीथीक्योकिमेरेमातापितानेमेरेऔरमेरी  बहनकेसाथकभीऐसाव्यवहारनहींकिआ| मुझेमेरेपरिवारनेघुड़सवारीऔरनृत्य, जोकीसंभ्रांतमहिलाओकेलिएप्रतिष्ठापूर्णकार्य  नहींमानाजाता, केलिएभीहमेशाप्रोत्साहितकिआ| मैंभारतकेजम्मूएवं कश्मीरनामकेराज्यमेंपलीबढ़ीहूँजोकी       दुनिआकेएकसर्वाधिकसैन्यीकृतक्षेत्रोमेंसेएकहै| हरजगह, अख़बारसेलेकेटेलीविज़नमेंमैंपुरषोंकेमरने, पकडेजानेउनकीअपंगताऔरक्षेत्रोकेपरिसीमनमेंबदलावोंया   हथियारोंकेपकडेजानेकीचर्चाहीदेखतीयासुनतीथी| युद्धकेमहिलओंपेपड़नेवालेप्रभावकेबारेमेंकहीचर्चानहींहोतीथीकीकिसप्रकारयुद्ध  क्षेत्रमेंमहिलाएंबलात्कार, रोजमर्राजीवनयारूढ़िवादीपरिवारकेसरंचनासेजूझतीहैं| कॉलेजमेंनारीवादीसिद्धांतोकीपढाईनेमुझेअपनेआस   पासकीअसमानताओंकोदेखनेकीअद्वित्यक्षमतादी| मैंपूरीशक्तिके  साथमहिलओंसेजुड़ेविषयोंपेकामकरनेकोअग्रसरहोगई|

मैंनेमहिलाओंकेलिएबारूदीसुरंगसेप्रभावितदेशोंजैसेडेमोक्रेटिकरिपब्लिकऑफकांगोएवंअफगानिस्तानएवंभारतमेंमहिलाऔरबालस्वास्थ्यके लिएसघनरूपसेकार्यकिया।मैभविष्यमेंएकऐसीदुनिआकीकामनाकरतीहूँजिसमेमेरेदेशमेंमहिलाओंएवंलड़कियोंकोजीवनकेलक्ष्योंकोप्राप्तकरनेकेपूर्णअवसरऔरस्वतंत्रतामिलेगी।भारतमेंनारीवादीआंदोलन  विखंडितरहाहैऔरआरम्भिक    चरणमेंमुख्यतःइसकानेतृत्वपुरषोंद्वाराकिआगयाहै| भारतमेंमहिलाहोनेकाअनुभवएकरोमांचकारीदौरसेगुजररहाहै।प्रगामीकानूनएवंनीतियोंकानिर्माणऔरपालनसरकारद्वाराकियाजारहाहैऔरसाथहीसाथलड़कियोंएवंमहिलाओंद्वारापरंपरागतरूपमेंमर्दोंकागढ़कहेजानेवालेकिलेकोभीध्वस्तकियाजारहाहै।चाहेखेलकेक्षेत्रमेंअपनीपहचानबनानाहोयाविज्ञानकेक्षेत्रमेंमहिलाएंहरलैंगिकअवरोधकोतोड़तीजारहीहै।महिलाएंकेवलउनक्षेत्रोंमेंप्रवेशहीनहींकिजोरूढरूपसेपुरूषोंकेलिएआरक्षितथाबल्किउसेप्रकाशितभीकररहीहैं| महिलाएंभेदभाव, पूर्वाग्रहऔररूढ़िवादिताकेसभीअवरोधोंकोपारकरतेहुएनकेवलअपना  स्थानबनारहीहैबल्किदुसरीतरफअन्यमहिलाओंएवंलडिकयोकोअपनेपथकाअनुसरणकरनेकेलिएप्रेरणाभीदेरहीहै।मैंआदरकेसाथनिम्न्लिखितकुछपुरोधाओंकानामलेनाचाहूंगीजो विज्ञान, राजनीतीऔरखेलकेक्षेत्रमेंनिरंतरअसधारणउचाईयोंकोछू  रहीहैं:

खेलों  में  महिलाओंकासशक्तहस्तक्षेप

अदितिअशोक- गोल्फ  में  बढ़तेकदम

भद्रपुरुषोंकाखेलसमझेजानेवालागोल्फकेप्रतिअदितिनेअपनेदमपरसमाजकेनजरिएकोबदलदिया।वर्ष2016 मेंपेशेवरखिलाड़ीमेंपरिणतयह19 वर्षीयखिलाड़ीनेअबतकअंतर राष्ट्रीयदौरेपरकईयादगारप्रदर्शनकिएहैं।आधारभूतसंरचनाकेअभावएवंसरकारद्वारामहिलागोल्फरकोप्रोत्साहनमेंकमीकेबावजूदअदितिनेविश्वकेशीर्ष100 खिलाड़ियोंमेंस्थानअपनाबनायाऔरअनेकोंमहिलाओंकेलिएमार्गप्रशस्तकिया।

भारतीयमहिला  विज्ञानके  क्षेत्र  में

मीनालसंपत–सितारोंकीचाह

मिनालजोसिस्टमइंजीनियरहैवहभारतकेमंगलअभियानकेसंभवहोनेकेलिएखिड़कीविहीनकमरेमेंप्रतिदिन2 वर्षोतकलगातार18 घंटेकामकिया।यहअभीतकभारतकेमहत्वकांक्षीअंतरिक्षपरियोजनाओंमेंएकहैऔरमिनालनेइसकीसफलतामें महत्वपूर्ण   भूमिकानिभायी। उन्हें   दूरस्थचिकित्साकार्यक्रममेंयोगदानकेलिएइसरोनेयुवावैज्ञानिकमेधापुरस्कारसेभीसम्मानितकियाथा।वहइसरोमेंकामकरनेवालीचुनिंदामहिलाओंमेंहैपरआनेवालेअनेकोंकेलिएमार्गप्रशस्तकिया।मीनालकीकहानीयहांपढ़ाजासकताहै।

भारत  की  पहली  महिला  लड़ाकू  पायलट।

मोहानासिंह, अवनीचतुर्वेदीऔरभावनाकंथनेभारतीयवायुसेना(युद्धदस्ता)  मेंपहलीमहिलाकेरूपमेंशामिलहोकरइतिहासरचा।वर्ष2015 मेंप्रायोगिकतौरपरसरकारद्वारा  महिलाओंकोयुद्धकभूमिकामेंशामिलकरनेसेपहलेमहिलाओंकोसशस्त्रबलोंमेंगैरयुद्धकभूमिकातकसीमितकरदियाजाताथा।लड़ाकूविमानउड़ाकरइनतीनोंनेपुर्णत: पुरूषों  के  लिए  आरक्षित  दुर्ग  में  प्रवेश  करते  हुएमहिलाओंकोपरमंपरिकछवितोड़नेकीप्रेरणादीहै।

महिलाएंराजनीतिमेंपहचानबनातेहुए|

यह24 सालकीशहनाजखानहैजोभरतपुरकेग्रहणगांवकीसबसेयुवाएवंसबसेज्यादापढ़ीमहिलासरपंचहै।सरपंच  पद  की  शपथ  लेते  हुए  शहनाजनेहिंदुस्तानटाइम्सअखबारकोकहाथा”मेवातमेंलोगअपनीलड़कियोंकोविद्यालयनहींभेजते, मैंउनकेसामनेअपनाखुदकाउदाहरणप्रस्तुतकरुंगीकिशिक्षाएकमहिलाकेलिएक्याकरसकताहै”।डॉक्टरहोनेकेनातेवहसफाईऔरसाफपानीजैसेमुलभुतमुद्दोंकेलिएप्रतिबद्धहै।