Once, a certain social reformer went to Vivekananda and asked, “It is great that you also support women, what shall I do? I want to reform them. I want to support this.” Then Vivekananda said, “Hands off. You do not have to do anything about them. Just leave them alone. They will do what they have to do.” “This is all that is needed. It is not that a man has to reform a woman. If he just gives room, she will do what is necessary.”
He has also aptly said that “The best thermometer to the progress of a nation is its treatment of its women.” It is sad that having had such a leader and prophet in the country, we are lacking in this regard 😦
Today, I got to attend an introductory meeting of Bharatiya Stree Shakti, an organisation which has been active for the past 25 years working towards the empowerment of women in many states across India including Maharashtra, Goa, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Chattisgarh and are present in the national capital too. We are working with them on starting a chapter in Hyderabad and I was so glad to have met the founding members who put across their thoughts so well! I wanted to share a few things I heard today here because I know most of you will be able to resonate with them, just like I did.
The organization started ofcourse to empower women who continue to occupy a secondary status in the family and hence the society. They wanted to work towards this by mainly working on the individual, family and social mindset, by active participation of men in the organised effort of women.
One of them observed that the main problem is that the women herself has never been her own priority, let alone others’. She was quoting how many homemakers whom they met back then used to introduce themselves as ‘I am …., I am …..’s wife, I don’t do anything’ !!!! That was when it struck them that they had to form a platform to empower women and make them realize that they do a lot and setting up and running a home itself is like running an industry with no MBA degree too. They had to make them realize that they were such able administrators.
Their focus areas include Education, Health, Economic Independence, Self-Respect and Equality. I liked it how they have self-respect and equality along with the others too, because that is the main thing we are lacking in which is leading to all other problems!
One of the best things they are working on is to reduce gender bias at all levels. The speaker opined that if we set a woman’s status in the family, it will but naturally set itself in the society. Isn’t that so true? She spoke about how the first thing which comes with freedom is sharing of responsibilities.
I was amazed by the variety of programs they have been carrying out. Their attention to detail and getting to the root of any problem is worth mentioning. They even have programs to make doctors aware of the ‘Domestic Violence Act‘ because even victims who go to doctors don’t tell them about the exact cause of wounds and cover them up by saying that they fell down in the kitchen, burnt themselves while cooking etc..
If any of you are interested in lending your hands in the organization, please check out the website. Alternately, you can let me know and I can connect you to the concerned person.
Hope all of you had a great weekend 🙂 Do let me know how you spent yours’. Happy week ahead all of you 🙂