Swabhiman - A Girl Child and Women Empowerment Initiative
There are several clear
indicators of the fact that Indian women continue to be discriminated
against – the sex ratio is skewed against them; maternal mortality
is the second highest in the world; more than 40% of women are illiterate;
and crimes against women are in all respects rising.
It is a paradox of modern
India, that while women wield power and hold positions at the topmost
levels, large sections of the women are still among the most underprivileged.
Some of the areas that remain a main concern in case of underprivileged
women are – health, sanitation, education, employment and
social status. Health and education of women and girls are two main
issues that loom large and continue to plague their development.
While poverty, early marriage, malnutrition, lack of hygienic menstrual
practices and lack of healthcare during pregnancy are some of major
health related issues; records state that the average Indian female
has only 1.2 years of schooling; and more than 50 percent of girls
drop out of school by the time they are in middle school.
In the given scenario,
the only way to bring about sustainable development in the poor
condition of underprivileged women and girls in the country is to
empower them – with education and good health. And a simultaneous
approach is the need of the hour.