Tuesday, March 07, 2006

International Women's Day [IWD] MARCH 8th

To all you beautiful inspiring women I call friends!
thank you & Happy IWD and you guys love and encourage the women in your life : )
I am back in the states visiting family and friends after meeting and befriending some amazing women in India.  Also, met wonderful women from Thailand, Spain, Germany, Belguim, Sweeden, Canada, and the USA.
India and women
But the 'largest democracy in the world' has a long ways to go as far as women's rights.  Women still are often times considered second class citizens.
The government of India has had campaigns promoting women empowerment. See my blog for a pic of some campaign messages painted on the back of rickshaws. http://bleuvelo.blogspot.com/2005_10_01_bleuvelo_archive.html
(scroll down to oct 11th entry)
Female Foeticide 
There are several states in India that have severe problems with female foeticide.
"Of the 15 million baby girls born in India each year, nearly 25 percent will not live to see their 15th birthday." from http://www.thp.org/reports/indiawom.htm
"Diagnostic teams with ultrasound scanners which detect the sex of a child advertise with catchlines such as spend 600 rupees now and save 50,000 rupees later. " from http://www.indianchild.com/abortion_infanticide_foeticide_india.htm
Good newspaper article on the topic
Literacy among females
According to the 2001 census the female literacy rate in India was 54% http://www.nlm.nic.in/women.htm
other campaigns for women's human rights
Change is possible
All of this evidence indicating a 'lower status' of women in India can, like so many other experiences I had in India, be contradicted.  I had friends that had studied at universities around India living away from home, a break from tradition. Traveled to study in the UK and USA, worked for the UN, business owners and high government agency employees.  Were MDs, bankers, completed their MBA and were high powered lawyers in the heart of Bollywood. 
Several women had one of the hardest jobs of all, being loving and caring mothers.
One of the projects I documented, educating adolescents about their bodies and the changes experienced growing up, was thought up by one of the hardest working doctors I have ever known, who is a strong advocate for women across India.  Within the process of interviewing other female doctors who volunteer their time & visit schools to speak to groups of 300 and 400 students, I met strong, passionate and committed women who may be a part of this new face to India.
And remember the 'largest democracy in the world' did have Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi (इन्दिरा प्रियदर्शिनी गान्धी)   as Prime Minister of India from 19 January 1966 to 24 March 1977, and again from 14 on 31 October 1984. (from wikipedia).
Even the US has not elected a female to one of the top elected positions in the country.
 Maybe in 2008!!  had to stick that one in : )
Hope everyone is happy and healthy
and if you get this far, I am going to start using my new email.....staciejune@gmail.com

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