These radical steps have been taken to ensure women empowerment in the state.
In a welcome move which will provide relief to girl children and young women, the Punjab Government has announced free education for girls from nursery classes to PhD. Free textbooks would be provided to all students and measures have been taken to post textbooks online so that the parents or students can download those. These radical steps have been taken to ensure women empowerment in the state. While these reforms have widely received a pat on the back, Sunitha Krishnan, a social activist and co-founder of Prajwala, an anti-sex trafficking Nonprofit Organisation, has a word of caution.
Pondering about how cost- effective the model is, Sunitha says, “I am personally not in favour of freebies. The need to educate and need to empower have to come from within you; it should not be that the government is giving something free to you, so you go for it! As long as the actual change in the mindset of people on the girl child is not forthcoming, providing free education will not change things drastically.”
Sunitha says that sending the girl to school because it is free of cost while not believing that the girl child is entitled to education or that she has equal rights as a male child reeks of a patriarchal attitude that needs to be changed. “We need to believe that both our children, be it a boy or a girl, deserve equal status,” she emphatically states, adding, “Empowerment needs to come from within each one of us.”