Things are changing..
What is Adolescence? Adolescence is a transitional period from childhood to adulthood. It is a time of disorientation and discovery. Nearly twenty percent of the world population of adolescent girls is in India. They basically account for nearly eleven percent of India’s population. Due to interventions in the states, women’s organisations and health professionals, the sex ratio improved in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Mizoram and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Also, a continuation of devaluation of girls leads to discrimination of various forms like violence exploitation and abuse throughout their span of life.
Almost forty seven percent of adolescent girls in India are underweight with a body mass index of less than the prescribed level of 18.5 which leaves them vulnerable to disease and early death and has lifelong health consequences. India consists of around 234 million adolescents. Poverty, lack of proper education and less access to sanitation are some of the reasons for such situations.
Dr. Amartya Sen , in his renowned article “Missing Women” has proved through statistics during the last century, more than hundred million women have been missing due to discrimination . That includes gender bais mortality through selective abortions, female infanticide and insufficient care for girls. Also, it is believed that atleast fifty million women and girls are missing in India. Adolescent girls in India face a number of challenges. Like illiteracy, child-marriage, unemployment, poor access to nutritious and healthy food, violence low self esteem, perceived as a burden, denied of education, less oppurtunities, poor sex education, child labour, double burden of work, unsafe work environment, poverty, etc.
But, things are changing in some villages of India.
Tara is a small village eleven miles North of Karnala. The village is a well developed one and specially known for growing paddy in its surrounding areas. The village at its entrance has a temple where every individual of the village gets together for prayers and worship to their deity. People live with unity. Despite of the disparities in the size of houses there is no gender inequality. Everybody is treated equally and is welcomed with a big smile.
Both girls and boys in this village are given equal opportunities and are not deprived of their basic rights such as Right to education, Right to health and Right to employment. Girls are allowed to go to school and pursue their career. Almost all adolescent girls in the village have cleared their Higher Secondary Education and are also allowed to work on their other interests rather than setting married and settled down. The girls in this village are very keen on studying further and pursuing their careers. They are encouraged and motivated by their family members and relatives. They are not restricted to the four walls in the house where they have to take care of the aged members and children at home and do the household chores. Their parents no more look down at them as a burden instead support them in all the possible ways. Varsha , an adolescent of the village, said that she wanted to study further and become a Pilot.
Thus, adolescent girls have been given the opportunity to achieve what they wish for at least in some of India’s remote villages. Earlier, adolescent girls in such areas were deprived of their basic opportunities. They were forced to get married instead of studying and would often give birth to children when they were not physically and mentally ready. But it cannot be denied that things are changing though on a slow pace.
TYBMM JOURNALISM 3760