Nurturing Girl Power for an Empowered Future
No One Can Stop Us!
15-year-old Rita (name changed to maintain anonymity) is determined and studies dedicatedly as she wants to become a surgeon when she grows up. Originally from Mahendragarh, Haryana, her family relocated to Delhi in search of work. Her mother works as a domestic help and her father is a contractor at a construction site in Delhi. “I want to be financially independent and take my parents to Mumbai one day,” Rita says. Rita’s mother does not allow her to work or take up a job as she wants Rita to dedicate her time and effort to studying, Rita shared “humko bada aadmi nahi badi aurat banna hai didi”. She adds “Maa hamare liye ghar ghar kaam karti hai taaki hum accha padh-likh paaye, aur hum chaahte hai ki school aur college jaake, achi naukri lage taaki unka naame roshan kare hum.”
Rita is one of the many girls that strive to dream big, attain education and be independent, but do all of them have the same access to the required education, and opportunities?
Girls all over the globe are the architects of a future where empowerment and equality are paramount, with their aspirations and unyielding potential as boundless as the open sky. In a society where development is the goal, it is critical to highlight how important it is to advance and protect girls' rights. Every girl has a narrative of commitment, resiliency, and unrealized brilliance hidden behind her, and it is our collective responsibility to ensure that her rights are not just respected but actively protected.
Girls today are faced with a myriad of challenges that hinder their holistic development and full participation in society. These challenges range from being cultural, to economic in nature, and impede their growth and potential. Unequal access to education continues to be one of the major problems, which limits their opportunities for intellectual growth and future prospects, ultimately adding to restricting their avenues of development. Their sense of security is undermined by gender-based violence, which can take many different forms, from harassment to more serious manifestations of the same. Often health-related stigmas and insufficient reproductive health education and support add additional layers of complexity. Furthermore, societal norms frequently set boundaries s, which adversely affect their self-esteem and mental well-being. Girls' goals and potential are sometimes stifled by ingrained societal standards and stereotypes that limit them to predetermined roles. In addition, problems like child marriage and limited access to healthcare make matters worse for them. It will take coordinated and collaborative efforts of various stakeholders to break down structural barriers, challenge social norms, and promote laws that protect girls' rights and futures everywhere to bridge these gaps.
Taking forward from Rita and her inspiring story, it is time to recognize and pursue the potential and goals of many more girls like her., The empowerment of girls is pivotal in building a more just and equitable society. It is important to challenge the status quo at both explicit and implicit levels and embolden girls with the tools and opportunities to break barriers and fulfil dreams. Let’s explore some potential suggestions which would allow Rita, and many more driven girls like her to take up their dreams forward.
Inclusive and Quality Education: Education forms the bedrock of empowerment. It is what forms the building blocks of our careers., f Girls should be included in educational institutions not just at the elementary level, but also at secondary and tertiary levels. It is equally important to challenge prejudices and provide females the opportunity to pursue different professions by encouraging aspirations that go beyond typical gender norms.
Skill Development and Entrepreneurship: Enabling girls to be self-reliant and independent also involves equipping them with practical skills and fostering the essence of entrepreneurship. Skill development programmes, encompassing vocational & entrepreneurship training and IT skills, equip girls with practical abilities which would add immensely to their skillset, and make them ready to dive into the career field of their choice. It will contribute not only to their families' income but also to the overall economic and social development of their communities.
Health and Well-being: Both elements are foundational to empowerment. By providing knowledge about nutrition, hygiene, and reproductive health, girls are not only taking charge of their well-being but also becoming advocates for health in their communities. This not only includes their physical health, but also mental, emotional, and social wellbeing. This would further foster positive self-image, confidence, and high self-esteem in girls, enabling them to navigate challenges with resilience.
In addition to the above-mentioned interventions, community awareness campaigns, mentorship programmes, and required policy reforms are some other ways to support girls. It is important to realise that empowerment is not a one-size-fits-all endeavour, but a continuous, multi-faceted process through which we collectively create a world where every girl has the opportunity to thrive with freedom and become catalyst for positive change.
Let us join hands to take action to give the right opportunities and support, to Rita and many more like her to create an empowered future!