ByÂ Vishal Shrivastava:
The year which started with protests against gender violence, an ordinance on crimes against women, and a father going against all stigmas of the society toÂ boldly take the name of his daughter who fought five “men” bravely; is coming to an end. At a time when everyone is going down the memory lane to feel nostalgic about 2013, it is important to remember some moments which for years to come will inspire, unify and further expand the force which has been the reason for growth of a unified world even after being subjected to harassment and violence of a patriarchal society.
Here are some moments which will soon fade away but whenever the pages of history will be turned to learn about empowered women, these will surely have their place in the books:
1. Malala Yousafzai speaks at UN to inspire the world:
Malala Yousafzai after being attacked by Taliban did not allow the bullet to make her silent. She appeared before United Nations and advocated for education to all and promoted non-violence. Her ideas where not new at all but the confidence, the spark in her eyes and the desire for a better world, were new. Malala Yousafzai will always be remembered as the girl who got the attention of all the diplomats around one problem that was forgotten between the sounds of bullets. She is an epitome of leadership which gave birth to thousands of voices around the world to stand together for her and several others like her.
2. The girl commands, people salute in awe:
As the gates of the fort at National Police Academy opened for the 65th passing out parade, a young girl in uniform shouted between the sounds of trumpets and the commands which she gave that day will inspire all the girls who want to serve this nation but are let down by the society. Shalini Agnihotri of Himachal Pradesh, the daughter of a bus conductor was adjudged the best trainee IPS officer in a 148 member batch. She received the Prime Minister’s baton and the Home Ministry’s revolver for being the best all-round trainee officer of the 65th batch of IPS.
She is an inspiration to all those girls and their parents who drop out of schools because of several problems. She answers the question of “why a girl must study, she needs to get married anyway”; yes she answers them all not by words but by her actions as she leads the battalion of 116 men as there commanding officer.
3. The brave hearts who stood against patriarchy:
This year will be remembered for several reasons and one of them will be the moments when Indian women decided to fight against patriarchy. This year will be remembered for the moment when a young journalist decided to go against the editor of a magazine which had a huge political support, a law intern who decided to come out and stand strong against a retired supreme court judge, few girls who did not give a second thought about social stigmas and decided to fight against a self-proclaimed “godman” and his son, and many other girls who dared to say enough is enough. All of them are now inspiring millions of girls across the world to raise voice against the violence being done to them. Because of their courage a woman is no more a victim, she is now a strong survivor fighting for her rights and will continue to do so.
4. Bhartiya Mahila Bank- empowering Indian women:
With a vision to empower women the first ever women bank in India was inaugurated this year by the finance minister and it will emphasize on funding for skill development to help woman in economic activities. The bank will also mobilize women to give them vocational training, like toy-making, driving tractors or mobile repairs. This bank will certainly promote asset ownership among women and studies have proved that asset ownership has reduced the chances of women going through the trauma of domestic violence. So with vocational training, assets ownership and easy finance, Indian woman is now ready to take her entrepreneurship skills out of the home and strengthen her image as a global phenomenon behind the growth of this nation.
5. Men wore skirts- It’s not about dress:
A clichÃ© had been doing rounds on social networking sites and conversations on the plight of women that “All men are same”. Well, yes it is true all men are same but those who harass, molest, or rape a woman can be anything but certainly not men. An example of real men was seen this year on the streets of Bangalore when Indian men donned skirts to protest against the absurd comments made by our beloved political leaders that girls must watch out on their dress. This was a symbolism not only to highlight the fact that it is not about the dress a girl wears but also it depicted that in the fight for respect, real men would stand together with women and demand the rights from this patriarchal set up and set new norms for the coming generation.
6. Arunima Sinha- who stood strong on the Everest:
A national level volleyball player was thrown off a moving rail as she decided to protest against voyeurism and harassment. The doctors had to amputate her left leg and all thought it was the end of career for this young athlete, she was determined to prove everyone wrong. The girl scaled Mount Everest within two years of that incident and became the first ever amputee to climb the highest peak. She continued her journey against all odds to answer all those who look down on handicaps. She did not want to be a victim and she inspired many by proving that she is not, she is a strong survivor.
7. An Indian American beauty creates history:
Nina Davuluri created history when she became the first Indian American to be crowned as Miss America. She was subjected to some racist remarks along with thousands of wishes from across the globe but she responded to all those comments very politely and brushed them aside. Her image and her dark tone is soon to follow suit and the phraseÂ “Dark is beautiful” is catching up strong. It’s time we realize the beauty within us.
8. Junior women’s hockey team showed way to Indian hockey:
At a time when the national sport and the national sport’s team were fighting hard to improve, it was again women who motivated by winning the first ever medal in Junior Women Hockey World Cup. The men’s team coach went on record to say that the feat is a morale booster for the male counterparts in the Asia cup that were going to be held after this. With such brilliant performance of Junior Women’s team the future of hockey in India is still secure and all they need now is proper support of the nation and sport authorities.
9. Women commandos by CRPF:
CRPF known for its dedicated and selfless service to the nation gave more power to nation by supporting empowerment of women as it raised its first woman command squad consisting of 30 women trained in various aspects like hostage crisis and rescuing citizens endangered in terrorist attacks. The squad is also the first all women paramilitary pipe band in the world and will soon be added to the Gunnies Book of World Records for this rare achievement. The squad stands at equal levels with their male counterparts as Jaskiran Kaur, Assistant Commander of the squad advocates the role of women in Armed Forces by saying that “We are as well trained as our male counterparts. It doesn’t matter whether a bullet is fired by a man or a woman as long as it hits the target.”
10. Prema Jayakumar chased her dream and turned it into reality:
It’s not about how much money you have to achieve success it’s just about the passion and effort you can give to turn your dreams into reality. Prema Jayakumar a daughter of autorikshaw driver topped her final chartered accountancy exam and became All India CA topper with a score of 75.8% defeating all odds not just to become a CA but also an inspiration to many.
There are several other women who inspire and not to mention, in every home there is a mother who inspires all of us. I hope for years to come we will continue to take inspiration from all the women out there and will give them the respect they deserve.