Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Women in 2020: Strengthen the roots

What are women in(rural) India today aspiring to? Are they aspiring to be homemakers?
Or are they aspiring to realize their dreams? Are they even free to dream?! Or do they believe that dreaming is hopeless in a land where their dreams will never take flight? Do they passively give into societal censure, parental and monetary restrictions? Or do they voice their hopes and wishes? Do they even have a voice?!

Do our rural women have the power to give themselves the hope of a better life?
That’s a difficult question to answer. It all boils down to education. The situation is quite dismal since for every 100 girls that enroll in Schools in rural India, only
eighteen reach class 8, only nine reach class 10 and just one reaches class 12.
Well it’s the time to think of some probable solutions. Understanding the psyche of the rural poor, a monetary incentive (of say a 100 rupees a month) for every girl child that goes to school and an additional Cash Prize for a girl who appears for the exams and passes, can bring about a substantial increase in female child enrollments in schools. Additional stress needs to be laid upon women entering the science streams(medicine, engineering, automotives etc) rather than just the traditional domains that women have been in for the past centuries. The manufacturing companies or industries that encourage the count of women employees should be given some tax benefits. Women need to be motivated
to pursue their studies and subsequently their careers. This can also be initiated at
the rural level. Strong self-sufficient women and women entrepreneurs from villages which are in proximity to a said village can be given good mileage. Locals will easily identify with these known individuals who were in similar situations and who have masterfully handled their strife and struggles by turning to education and its
benefits. These local role-models can be a part of the school curriculum to help,
guide, motivate and give the female students a realistic, achievable goal. To include such activities in the curriculum, can be made mandatory by the government. It may be a long while before the rural men accept their women as bread-winners
but it won’t be too long before the men start recognizing their women as potential financial contributors, in addition to their role of contributing to the welfare of the children and the home. We long to see the day when a rural woman managing her
home and her career is seen as a norm rather than just the odd exception.

Only with a remarkable role played by women we can achieve the vision 2020.
Because India’s Future lies in her villages and India’s strength lies in her Women.