It is important that every citizen of a country participates in the process of development and growth. But sadly this has not been the case in India. Many women have been left behind from the growth story of the country. Even today, they don’t have a voice of their own and don’t have access to their rights.
Gender discrimination is a global phenomenon and has been witnessed in India as well since time immemorial. Girls are still considered as a burden for the family and while boys are given certain privileges, girls are often confined to their homes and are given no or very little opportunity to fulfil their dreams.
It is very important to empower the girls and women of our country because empowering them will give them self-confidence and enable them to think critically. If the girls and women are empowered they can ensure that they can participate in decision-making and can be economically independent.
Beti Bachao Beti Badhao (BBBP) is India’s Central Government’s flagship programme. It was launched on 22nd January 2015 in Panipat, Haryana. The main aim of this scheme was to address the rapidly declining Child Sex Ratio and look into other issues related to gender discrimination and women empowerment. Awareness generation and changing the mind-sets of people about girls and women is the focus of this scheme.
Girls are challenged and discriminated at every point in their lives, sometimes even before they are born. They always fear to express their ambition. It is the need of the hour to acknowledge these challenges in detail so that the society as a whole can identify various measures that can help save and empower the girl child. ‘Beti Padhao Beti Bachao’ literally means ‘Educate the Girl Child, Save the Girl Child.’
India’s Child Sex Ratio has been deteriorating rapidly. According to the Census 2011, the Child Sex Ratio was 918 girls for 1000 boys. Appallingly, more than a million girls below the age of 15 get pregnant every year. Early pregnancy leads to a survival rate of as low as 50%. Out of the 10 million child brides in the world, India is home to one-third of them. United Nations Population Fund states that more than two-thirds of the married females between the age of 15 and 49 years have been beaten and are forced to provide sex.
Illiterate or literate, the desire to have a son seems to be unending in India. The states of Haryana, Rajasthan, and Punjab have especially been identified by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to be notorious for female foeticide. In 2017-18, illegal complaints of the gender were 158 in Haryana, 112 in Rajasthan and 44 in Punjab.
The obsolete and patriarchal mindsets of people in India needs to be changed. Altering our laws and policies alone will not bring any change. We can only expect change when we as a nation will change our stereotyped mindsets. If girls are given a chance too, they can nurture their skills and talents and can excel in diverse areas of life. But for this to happen it is important for both the government and the non-governmental organisations to work in harmony.
100 crore rupees has been allocated by the Government of India on the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme and another 50 crore rupees is allocated for women’s safety in public transports and 150 crore rupees towards the safety of women in large cities.
The government has taken an initiative but it is not possible for the government to bring about a sudden change. Therefore, as responsible citizens, we need to join hands with the government. Numerous non-profit organisations are working towards saving girl children and empowering girls and women. Save the Children is one such organisation. By donating to charities like Save the Children you can help educate a girl child and unlock the potentials of many girl children and help them fulfil their dreams and reach great heights. Donate now because education is the key to empower girls and women. You can also donate online.