Let’s empower girls

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Empowering women is key to building a future that we all want. She is the full circle and within her is the power to create, nurture and transform.

As is true throughout the world, the key to propelling economic progress, social transformation and general development is women’s empowerment. If women become stronger, then, so will children and families. It is imperative to support them by establishing a fair and equal market with equal opportunities.

Apart from Rotary clubs, there are many NGOs and government projects to support women, help them develop their skills and use them professionally to create a self-sustaining life for themselves and their families.

Women’s empowerment is intertwined with respect for her rights. Movements such as MeToo and Time’sUp have focused attention on violence and discrimination against women. Countries around the world are emphasising and focusing on women’s safety and giving them respect at the workplace. Creating forums addressing issues related to women must be prioritised and a team of legal and counselling professionals should be appointed for speeding up the justice process.

Along with the women’s literacy and education programmes, teaching self-defence in schools can boost up the confidence and self-respect of girls, thus helping them take the right decisions when required.

As diseases prey on weak minds and malnourished bodies, emphasis on hygiene and proper nourishment must be emphasised. Menstural hygiene needs to be highlighted and information on menarche (onset of menstruation) must be widely spread in the age-groups concerned. Poor knowledge and understanding may lead to unsafe hygienic practises that increase the risk of reproductive and genito-urinary tract infections, leading to poor attendance, dropping out from schools and poor academic performance, resulting in a poor quality of life. Data shows that absenteeism in schools during the menstural cycle is high due to inadequate disposal mechanisms for sanitary napkins and even superstitious notions at home. Menstrual hygiene management must be accentuated and clean, hygienic disposables must be provided. Alongside, training for disposing used products must be prioritised to control spread of infections.

As they say: “Little girls with dreams become women with vision.”

Here’s to strong women! May we know them, be with them, raise them…

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Dr Mahesh Kotbagi
RI Director, 2021–23

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