Indian women have multiple roles, like that of a daughter, wife and sister to name a few. Most of these women are confined to the boundaries of their homes. Before the Vedic period, women enjoyed a high status in society but subsequently, they witnessed a regression in the respect that they deserved.
Even though history saw the rise of many powerful women like Rani Lakshmi Bai, Razia Sultana and Rudrama Devi; today, despite many laws, women are still excluded from inheriting property. However, a ray of hope comes to women in the face of many governmental and non-governmental organisations whose aim is to create awareness for women’s education and to promote it.
Despite all the initiatives and the great work done by individuals and government, there are still some states in India, especially Rajasthan, where women are fighting for their rights and not living the life that they deserve.
According to a data revealed by 2011 census, out of 1.90 crore women aged 15-59 years, only 52 lakh women in Rajasthan are working. Around 11 lakh women in the state are struggling for jobs, because they are either unable to find employment opportunities or they are not allowed to work.
One major reason is illiteracy and the persisting social taboos due to which the society feels that sending out women to work is against its culture. On the one hand, qualified women are not getting employed, and on the other hand many women are not exposed to education. And, that is why they are unaware of their rights and unable to raise their voice.
The total number of literates in Rajasthan in 2011 was 38,275,282 out of which only 14,586,870 were females and the rest were males. And according to 2011 Census, the rural literacy rate of Rajasthan was 61.44% with total number of rural literates as 26,471,786 in which females accounted for only 9,567,197 and males were 16,904,589. This means the literacy rate of rural males was 76.16% as compared to females which was 45.8%.
In addition to being unemployed, women here are forced into child marriage. They attain early pregnancy, and a major part of their daily chores is restricted to cooking food and collecting water from uncovered wells.
For these women, who had no awareness of their basic rights and were living in a male dominated society, Sumeeti Mittal came as a ray of hope. Civil engineer turned social worker, Sumeeti is the Founder and Trustee of Pratham Shiksha school in Jaipur which was set up with a goal to promote basic education among underprivileged children living in slums.
What inspired her to open this school was her trip to the United States where she discovered that the underprivileged children in the country have access to education whereas in India, it is not the case. Her journey as a social worker started from there and since then she has constantly been working for the betterment of the society.
Apart from working for slum children, Sumeeti also dreams of uplifting t of women in the Indian society. She is a part of various social forums and a group called Mentoring Walk where she discusses and resolves personal and professional issues of her mentees. Through Swayam, Sumeeti Mittal has been guiding women entrepreneurs in setting up and taking their businesses to the next level. She has also been awarded with 100 Women Achievers Award by the Ministry of Women and Child Welfare, Government of India.
Sumeeti is the chairperson of Yuva Sanskriti Sansthan’s women wing, an organisation that works towards the welfare of the socially backward people, organizes mass marriage ceremonies for low income groups, conducts events like blood donation camps and summer camps for students, and offers computer courses. All that Sumeeti dreams about is to have a better tomorrow and more importantly women empowerment.
Currently working for the women of Jaipur, she aspires to bring a change in the whole country, empowering every woman and helping her be independent.
Her great deeds and her confidence in herself are enough to inspire every woman to fight for her rights and live a better life. After her efforts, women of Jaipur are gaining strength and becoming aware of their rights.