Sargun Shukla, Senior Superintendent Police, Leh: The status of women in Leh is comparatively better than the rest of India as it can be measured by their participation in many sectors. Women are seen actively taking part in trade and businesses, management companies, educational institutions and many more. The percentage of girls education is higher than boys and women have proved their potential in every field.
District Police Leh celebrated Women’s day with nomads of Kuyul and Chumur to create awareness and distribute sanitary products. Women in Leh are empowered, not necessarily in terms of making financial contribution to their family. It is reflective from their participation and say in decision making, lifestyle, and their independence to do what they please.
The major challenges that women in Leh are facing is that of channelization of energy. They are educated but they are not aware of where and how to channelize their potential, acumen, and educational achievements. Jammu and Kashmir police is trying to step in as our endeavor is always about constructive engagement with youths such as career counseling with students, vocational training for women and sports tournament for women. These are important for the holistic development of an individual and the region.
Gender-balanced society is a concept that has a different implication for different people. Being a woman and District Police Chief, the workplace majorly constitutes male force and yet has a very cohesive team in Leh which is parity in a way. Everyone’s experience of dealing with society, hindrances, turbulence are different but it is also on how your social makeup and support system have made you overcome those challenges. That could be your family, teachers, peers, and most importantly your own determination helps you overcome these challenges.
As an officer, you have to fulfill your roles and responsibilities. Over and above your identity as a woman makes you take a few steps extra. Therefore, gender equality is not only about empowering women but also empowering society.
Cognizable offence is cognizable offence; you should not be a victim, a silent victim. We as women have a tendency to hesitate when it comes to speak out against issues like domestic violence, divorce and other forms of crime. The aim behind the opening of the women police station was more of playing the role of the reconciliatory agent rather than penalizing agency.
Our objective is very clear if a small adjustment issue or misunderstanding is causing a family to break, our first role is to try to mediate between them. Family as an institution, if it is taken away, we lose a lot from our lives. We are not advocating one person to suffer the atrocity of another rather be the bridge between the two.
• Awareness is most important in any particular situation. Women in Changthang are self-sustained. They make income by weaving and selling wools. However, there are certain things that need to be done in terms of hygiene.
• Women should not hesitate to open up their issues with their partners, family members, peers and above all visit police station when something happens.
• Women’s participation in family decision making is essential.
“Wishing women and girls in Leh all the very best, you should play an important and active role in the development of the region and moving Leh forward.”
Thinles Angmo, Senior Advocate, District and Session Court, Leh: International Women’s Day has been celebrated since 1909, yet women are still not treated equally despite their huge contribution in taking the world forward. International Women’s Day 2019 is celebrated with the campaign theme of ‘BalanceforBetter’ instead it should be Balance forever’ by giving recognition to women’s contribution.
The status of women in Leh is significantly better compared to the other parts of India mainly because of cultural upbringing and absence of female feticide. In many Ladakhi households, a girl child is preferred over a boy child and girl is never seen as a burden. Leh was a safe place for women. However, with the coming of technology and internet, the issues of teenage pregnancy, domestic violence, and divorce cases has increased.
The occurrence of such issues can be blamed on limited access to quality education. Quality education plays a crucial role in addressing these issues. With this, equal opportunity, equal representation, recognition of women’s achievements, equal participation and many more can be fulfilled. Needless to say, parents do not have to send their children for better education in metropolitan cities to study.
Another challenge is to change the mindset of people regarding women. Women are seen inferior in many fields and not given importance while expressing their, and often denied equal opportunity in decision making. For instance, Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council was created in 1995 that constitutes Chief Executive Councillor, followed by four Executive Councillors representing different geographical regions in Leh to form equal representation. Sadly, they failed to accommodate equal representation in Executive Councillors by disregarding women’s representation, weaker section of the society and religious minority.
The status quo of male-dominated society has resulted in observing Women’s Day since the lapse of 100 years and still living in gender-imbalance society. There are many movements initiated by women to end gender-disparity society including “Me Too” movement, a movement to raise voice against sexual harassment of women of every kind.
• Know your rights including; protection from domestic violence, representation Act, maternity benefit, sex determination, protection of rights on divorce, sexual harassment of women, forced labor, national commission for women, and many more.
•With rights come duties, women have certain responsibilities to fulfill. The utmost duty of a woman is to stand for herself in any given situation, respect womanhood, and duties towards family, community, and society.
• Fundamentally, women empowerment begins with women themselves. We need to break the notion that ‘women are enemies of each other rather should support each other.
“Many congratulations to women of Leh on this very special occasion of International Women’s Day. To the sisters of Leh, to make sure to be proud of being a woman and never underestimate your potential, capability, and stand with each other to bring change in the society at large. Treat every day as women’s day.”