New Delhi, March 10: In many rural families in India, there is still a preference for investing in education for boys as compared to girls, especially beyond the primary level, said a report released here Monday.
The report, “Hearts and Minds: Women of India Speak”, an initiative of the UN Women along with a team of authors, intends to share the “lived experiences” of women and girls across five Indian states – Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Rajasthan.
Based on the interviews of elected women representatives, the report captures the voices of these grassroots women who remain completely marginalised despite India’s phenomenal economic growth.
“The report ensures that the voices of those who remain socially and economically marginalised are meaningfully reflected in India’s policies and the emerging global post-2015 development agenda,” said Rebecca Reichmann Tavares, representative, UN Women multi country office for India, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka.
“The gender equality goal, developed by the UN Women, calls for increased participation of women in decision-making.
“In the context of the upcoming elections, this is a pertinent issue as despite the advances made through the panchayats, women account for nearly 10 percent seats in the parliament,” she added.
The event also saw the launch of a new European Union (EU) film, “Women who Inspire”, which comprised a series of interviews with Indian women who are “inspiring change”.
A few women who featured in the film include ace climber Bachendri Pal, police officer Shalini Agrihotri, women cricketer Anjum Chopra, Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaising and actress Vidya Balan.
“I understood that one needs money to survive. Sometimes you can earn, sometimes you cannot… The fertiliser business changed my life, the life of my whole village and the lives of my sisters,” Hirbai Ibrahim Lobby, who has been working with the Self Help Group in her village since 1994, said in the movie.
“Everyone can do it and must if they want to have a better life,” she added.
Speaking on the occasion, Joao Cravinho, EU ambassador to India and Bhutan said the film pays tribute to women and applauds their efforts in promoting equality in their communities.
“It is remarkable what has been achieved by inspiring women in India,” he said.
The film has been directed and produced by Ranjit Monga on behalf of the EU.