Before manusmriti dictated the role of woman as a daughter, wife and a mother, the women of our country enjoyed dignified lives. The patriarchal structure and mindset of the society has led to a massive downfall in the status of women, where majority are denied equity.
A recent report by the United Nations stated that over the past 50 years, India has recorded a total of 45.8 million ‘missing girls’. “Missing females” are women missing from the population at given dates due to the cumulative effect of postnatal and prenatal sex selection in the past, the agency said. This hints at the high number of female foeticides in our country.
A data released by the government in January 2020 stated that a girl was raped every 15 minutes in our country. Due to lockdowns to curb the ongoing pandemic, the number of domestic violence cases have surged, with Haryana having the second highest number of such reported cases.
We Foundation helps in whatever way possible to empower women. Apart from holding workshops in schools in Haryana, we have also published a ‘rulebook’ for women, ‘Empowering Women’, which talks about rights sanctioned to women by reviewing each and every relevant section of the constitution and Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. The book, which has been written by a judicial officer, Rachna Gupta, also lists out ways of seeking legal help in case of infringement of these rights. It also has a consolidated list of all helpline numbers associated with women safety. Distribution drives amongst colleges and schools have also been conducted to spread awareness. We also organised plays that were performed at the Supreme Court of India. These skits were centred around sexual harassment faced by women at workplace.
At our age-aid centre in Farukh Nagar village, various seminars are organised with the women of the village to make them aware of their rights. A legal-aid team that visits the centre on a fortnight basis also provides free legal consultation to the women in need.
We are also tackling the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the already poor at our age-aid centre. Women from the village are helping us mitigate the effect of COVID-19 by stitching masks for sale. They are being paid for each mask they stitch and hence are being financially empowered in this time of need. Bags of five masks are stitched and sold for collection of funds. These funds help us keep the villagers equipped with face masks and sanitisers.