What does it say about us as a nation when we are no longer affected by the poignant image of two young girls, barely out of childhood, hanging from a tree like broken rag dolls ? Have the atrocities against women that are rising at an alarming rate desensitized us to the extent that incidents such as these are just statistics notched up in the annals of some crime ledger? And when and where is the solution to this?
The subjugation of women begins even before her birth, in the sex determination tests, the foeticides, the senseless beliefs, and eventually, the denial of her rights – to a healthy life, financial resources, education, and even the right over her own body.
When a woman has the power to make her own decisions and exercise her privilege in a collective decision making process, when she has the power to induce change and influence growth, she will no longer have to cower before the sheer brute force of man or submit herself to his physical, psychological and emotional dominance and dependence.
To put it simply, the solution lies in Empowerment. Empowerment of women does not just take them ahead; it takes the whole society ahead. And empowering women does not mean arming them with pepper sprays and a black belt in karate. True power and emancipation comes from education and economic independence, which consequently lead to security in society.
In order for women to break out of their own imitations and take total control of their lives, a total overhauling of society is necessary. The change needs to begin at the most basic level, starting with health and education, of not just the girl child, but of the boy child too. So that he can grow up to respect Woman and recognize her fundamental rights to all resources as much as his own.
By teaching women skills and promoting entrepreneurship, they can become valuable contributors to society and thus claim their self-esteem and rightful place as equal partners in the advancement of society.
And when that happens, we will no longer have to harden our hearts in order to live down images of broken rag dolls hanging from trees.
PHOTO CREDIT : AFP
Eco Femme: A Women’s Empowerment Project in Rural India