'Overcome Fear, Unite & Fight'

17 October, 2004  
IN a convention organised by the All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA), Delhi state committee to commemorate the twenty-first death anniversary of its first president Ahokalata Jain, more than 200 young girls and young women met and spoke about the discriminations faced by them, the unequal treatment meted out to them both within the home and outside, the need for adequate provision for their education, the increasing incidence of 'eve-teasing' and sexual assault and rape, the criticism that they face for speaking out, for dressing in non-traditional ways, for asserting themselves. They announced the need to overcome fear, to get together and to fight for equal rights.
Speaking on the occasion the general secretary of AIDWA, Brinda Karat, pointed out that discrimination against girls begins before they are born, through the practice of sex-selective abortions, and continues throughout their lives. She pointed out how young girls are forced to bear the burden of work along with their mothers and work both within the house and outside in the fields or elsewhere, denying them education and the time to study, while boys are allowed to study and go out for recreation.
Others who addressed the meeting were Kalindi Deshpande, AIDWA secretariat member, Ashalata, general secretary, AIDWA Delhi state committee, Dr Indu Agnihotri, academic and AIDWA CEC member. The meeting was presided over by Kirti Singh, president, Delhi state committee and Sonia Verma, working president.
A resolution was adopted by the convention which highlighted the plight of young girls and young women and their aspirations and demands for a better education, more employment opportunities in all professions including those traditionally reserved for boys, and for proper opportunities for sports and other recreational and cultural activities was passed. The resolution also called for a campaign against dowry, forced marriages, and equal property rights for daughters.
The meeting ended with a call for formation of area level committees of young girls to deal with the various problems and issued which concern them. (INN)