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Women's Journey Through Unconventional Routes

The hardest challenge today is to change attitude in patriarchal society and it needs to be addressed immediately.

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The history of Indian Women is full of pioneers who have broken the barriers whether they were social, political or economic. Right from the Vedic period to Modern India, Indian women have opted to be sages and seers, warriors and queens, singers and artists, educationalists, and social workers. Their indomitable spirits have encouraged them to go beyond their role of home making. They have been successfully chasing their dreams in such fields which were once purely-male dominated.

In the 21st century, when we are still struggling to achieve gender equality, many women in India and abroad are taking up unconventional careers and are excelling in them too. They are not dependent on systems and societies. Be it Medicine, Military , Media, Police, Pilots, Politics, Mountaineering, Boxing, Auto/train/bus drivers, Bikers, Indian women have carved their paths with full commitment. They have broken stereotyped approach and have set examples for coming generations. Way back in 1887, Anandibai Gopalrao Joshi was the first Indian female Physician and was trained in western medicines. The first female Judge of India, Justice M. Fathima Beewi was known for her firmness and judgments. Ms. Durga Banerjee, the first Indian female Pilot and Ms. Harita Kaul Deol, the first women Pilot to fly solo in the Indian Air Force accepted the challenges of a male-dominated profession and they did it!

History was made again in 2019 when two female scientists from ISRO led the country's second lunar mission Chandrayaan-II from its inception to completion. Another milestone was reached when the Supreme Court upended the Government's position on women serving as army commanders in 2020.

India's story on women's adopting unconventional routes is incomplete without recognizing their role in politics. It is true that their number in politics is small in comparison to their counterparts. May be they are small in number but their contribution is immense. Using their adult suffrage and as they are almost 50 per cent in India's population, they have demonstrated their power to influence important decisions time and again. Be it PM's or CM's or Minister's position, their single-minded thought process and crystal clear decision-making power have made them popular and meaningful human beings.

India's story on women's adopting unconventional routes is incomplete without recognizing their role in politics. It is true that their number in politics is small in comparison to their counterparts. May be they are small in number but their contribution is immense. Using their adult suffrage and as they are almost 50 per cent in India's population, they have demonstrated their power to influence important decisions time and again. Be it PM's or CM's or Minister's position, their single-minded thought process and crystal clear decision-making power have made them popular and meaningful human beings.

The present Government have set examples to encourage our girls to think and choose. In 2021, the National Disaster Response Force inducted the first woman team to combat calamity disaster. Indian Air Force Fighter Pilot Flight Lieutenant Shivangi Singh from Varanasi became first woman to fly Rafale in 2020. It is a matter of pride that Indian Army deployed women soldiers on combat duty near LOC with Assam Rifles in 2020.

Well, modern career journeys of woman no longer follow one single path of progression. Now we are champions in maintaining a healthy work/life balance. We are not only skilled for our dream jobs but also have the vision to develop a balanced socio-economic structure. While visible gains have been made through faster legal reforms, encouraging skill development and remarkable grass root initiatives by present government, we still have a long way to go in many areas of empowerment of women. A more concerted efforts is needed to create capacity building and awareness among rural and tribal women. The same access as is available to urban girl is necessary to be provided to girls living in far-flung areas particularly in fields of education, health-care and decision-making. The hardest challenge today is to change attitude in patriarchal society and it needs to be addressed immediately. The progress of our nation is possible only when the 50 per cent of its women population fulfills their dream and contributes substantially in the gross national product of our country!

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


Dr Heena Gavit

The author is Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha

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