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Children can fight gender inequality: Prof Amartya Sen

Alphy Geever, Class VIII, St. Paul’s School, New Delhi
Aruna Chatterjee, Class XII, St. Martin’s School, New Delhi

Asserting the important role that young people could play in fighting gender inequality, Nobel Laureate Prof Amartya Sen said, ‘inequalities continue because we tolerate them.’ He exhorted the children and youth to work with great determination and bring about a change in society.

In an exclusive interview with ‘The Yamuna’, the children’s newspaper of Gandhi Smriti, Prof Sen stressed that there was no reason why the present generation should remain hostage to past traditions, which encouraged gender inequality. “The only way of dealing with inequality is, not to tolerate it.”, “We will be able to overcome disparities in the society if we can ensure gender equality” he added. Prof Sen spoke to The Yamuna reporters during the Bal Adhikar Samvad organized in New Delhi on December 19, 2006.

On being asked about the role child reporters can play in the development of the nation and the world community, Prof Sen said, “The very fact that children have taken the initiative to report issues concerning not only them but other developmental concerns, is great in itself.” Expressing his excitement at being interviewed by child reporters, he said that child reporters could play a very positive role in community building.

He also had a word of caution for the young reporters. “Children should not just raise the issues of social concern but in fact should actively participate in community action.” The Nobel Laureate, Prof Sen opined that child reporters could play an important role in promoting gender equality in the Indian society by highlighting the issues concerning it.

Speaking earlier at the Bal Adhikar Samvad, Prof Sen pointed out that even though India has made substantial progress in the various social and economic sectors, there have been some major failures especially in the area of childcare. “We have failed to provide an acceptably fair and just arrangement and care for the well-being of the children.”

Prof Sen’s report, ‘Focus on children under six’, is based on a survey of the implementation of the Integrated Child Development Scheme in six states in 2004.
It talks about the well-being and rights of children under the age of six.

According to Prof Sen, the rights of children should be viewed as human rights issues. He said it was unfortunate that the population of underweight children in the country has not gone down and a large number of them are anaemic. He stressed on the need to make radical changes in the system to make the lives of children better. 



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