Wednesday 30 December 2015

Stop gender-biased sex selection: Huma Qureshi

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A society that sees girls as an economic burden, considers the son to be the sole heir, and devalues the work women do, perpetuates the cycle of discrimination against women.

Gender-based discrimination is prevalent in all spheres of our society and Bollywood is no exception. The film-industry treats the male and female artistes differently and some artistes have also raised their voice against the bias. This was stated by noted Hindi movie actress-cum-fashion model Huma Qureshi, who was in Rohtak today to promote NGO Breakthrough’s ‘Mission Hazaar’ campaign against gender-based sex-selection. “It’s not a level playing field out there in Bollywood,” Huma said while talking to reporters on the sidelines of an event organised as part of the campaign to celebrate the achievements of outstanding women and award the achievers. She, however, maintained that the situation had improved during the past few years.

The Bollywood actress, who shot to fame with her debut movie ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’, laid emphasis on the provision of education to girls and also underlined the crucial significance of sex education. Huma observed that encouraging girls and women to venture out and fulfil their dreams was a collective social responsibility. “For this, they need to be treated on a par with their male counterparts and this has to begin at the level of our own families,” she quipped.

In response to a query, the actress remarked that biggest enemy of women were women only. She asserted that there was a dire need to change our mindset towards women and give them due space.

On being questioned about movies being responsible for rising crime against women, violence and other evils, she averred that films were only a reflection of society and it was not the other way round.

Sonali Khan, country director and vice-president, Breakthrough, who was also present at the event, said: “Mission Hazaar aims to draw attention of people and communities towards the ‘missing’ girls and women by highlighting their value and worth to the people across communities. Through the Mission Hazaar campaign, we want people to know that more number of girls in society will make the world safer for everyone.”

She claimed that a survey undertaken by Breakthrough covering 10,000 youth and students towards the end of 2014 had revealed that while nearly 90 per cent of parents valued sons over daughters; more than half of the students said they see more boys than girls in their classes and families.

What is Mission Hazaar?

How many women are around you right now? In India, there are only 914 girls for every 1000 boys. A normal ratio would be much closer to even. Also, some of the country’s most economically progressive areas have some of the worst child sex ratios. Fewer girls in a society means fewer girls in public places. This makes them appear more unsafe, which further reduces the mobility of girls and women.

It is time to bring attention to the missing girls/women.

With ‘Mission Hazaar’ we are making the women around us – in our homes, schools, colleges, market places, streets, and public places – visible. We are making it our responsibility to respond to the situation. We believe we have the power to end gender based discrimination; to build communities in which everyone can thrive; and to make public spaces safe for everyone.

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