Jawaharlal Nehru, in whose fond memory Children’s Day is observed every year, said, “To awaken the people, it’s the women who must be awakened. Once she is on the move, the family moves, the village moves, the nation moves.”

These few words capture, in entirety, the importance of a woman’s role. But, Indian society still hasn’t been awakened to the importance of empowering the women.

The statistics still narrate a grim story of female foeticide, girl child discrimination and gender bias.

How can a nation prosper when one half of the population is still deprived of her basic rights?

It is hard to imagine this state of affairs in the 21st Century when women have proved to be strong leaders in every field possible. From wrestling to business, the world has been revolutionised by exceptional women leaders in fields that were until recently completely dominated by men.

But inspite of such progress, even today, the girl child is discriminated against in most Indian households. The birth of a baby boy is celebrated with great pomp and ardour, but the birth of a girl child is received with dismay. The practice of female foeticide through sex selective abortion continues to be practiced in spite of the Prenatal Diagnostic Technique Act of 1994. Girl child education and even nutrition is given lesser importance and because of this thousands of girls in urban and rural India do not get a chance at a normal life.

The need of the hour is to make a change in the mindset of the society and destroy the prejudices that damage the future of the girl child. All of us can contribute to a change in our own small ways.

Here are few measure you can adopt in your everyday life and make a change:

1. Spread Awareness
It is agreed that education is the key to reducing discrimination. Unless a girl is made aware of her rights, she cannot avail or make use of them. You could volunteer with CRY or hold your own workshops in nearby slums or villages to spread awareness with regard to her fundamental rights. Often, women themselves prevent their daughters from getting educated because they are not aware of the difference it can make. Spread the word and share examples with women in these backward regions or urban slums.
This small step could go a long way in changing the way people think. Also you can donate today to help organisations take measure towards protecting the rights of the girl child.

2. Be Vigilant
Keep a watch in your neighborhood and report any incidents of girl child labour or abuse and other child rights Many young girls from poverty stricken households are sent to work as maids and servants in well-to-do households. These girls often fall victim to a life of neglect and abuse. Help rehabilitate such girls into school and change their lives. Talk to their families as well and change their attitude towards girl child education. Young girls are forced to leave their families and search for work in the cities and end up the victims of sex trafficking. Your timely intervention can save their lives and even help rehabilitate them to schooling and a normal course of life.

3. Encourage Critical Thinking
More often than not, we face gender discrimination or are exposed to such attitudes in our daily lives. Speak out against such attitudes or mind sets whether it be your workplace or community. Another major place of impact is in the upbringing of children and the school. Encourage children to not be constricted by gender when it comes to any activity. For example, don’t encourage a boy to play football because he’s a boy and a girl to play with dolls just because she’s a girl. These small factors go a long way in breaking gender prejudices that are formed at an early age. Never tell a girl she can’t do something because she’s a girl and prevent others from making her feel this as well!

These are just three minor steps that you could take towards preventing gender discrimination in our society.

A small change can have a lasting effect.

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