Before COVID-19 upended the world, women with disabilities were undergoing their own lockdown, invisible and shut out from the rest of the world. Now, the walls are closing in. “Women with disability have been fighting to get out of their houses as their families worry about letting them navigate alone,” says Nidhi Goyal, founder and director of Rising Flame, a non-profit committed to changing the lives of people, especially women and girls with disabilities. “Now, we are under lockdown again.”
Tribhuvan said his mother was all for breaking gender stereotypes, in life and death. “My mother abhorred superstition and unreasonable dogmas, and treated her sons and daughters equally. She wanted my sister, Pushpavati Patel, and daughters-in-law to carry her bier because she believed that such a move would dispel the commonly held notion that women are not permitted to do so,” he added.
I wonder whether, in our work to empower young girls and women, we are ignoring one half of the problem, and therefore underestimating one half of the potential solution. If there is a morally undeniable societal goal of sarve bhavantu sukhinah – “May all be happy” – then we need to think about the situation of the 200 million young men in this country. And we need to turn to them with as much urgency and focus as we spend on the millions of young women, and their multiple needs.
Lucknow created more than a buzz last week after the city, steeped in history and heritage, elected its first woman mayor. Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Sanyukta Bhatia was elected the head of Lucknow Nagar Nigam – the first woman to occupy the position in the municipal body’s 100 years of existence. Though a largely titular post with real power vested with government officials who run the corporations, Bhatia’s election has put the spotlight on mayors – particularly women – who are considered the first citizens of their respective cities.