“Vendaam” in Tamil means “no” or “not any more” – one of the several names typically given to a girl child by parents overcome by their desire for a boy. Today, Vendaam has done her parents and her village proud. The 19-year-old, in her final year of engineering at the Chennai Institute of Technology, was recruited by a top Japanese firm after a campus interview.
We cannot possibly think of a progressive and developed India if one half of our population is constantly worried, and restricted by lack of safety. We need to remember that only when girls achieve an equal footing as boys will India be able to realise its full potential. Today’s girls are tomorrow’s women. And if girls don’t feel safe enough, they will neither be able to educate themselves nor be able to realise their own potential as workers, teachers, business leaders, scientists, sportspersons or even leaders.
With women voting in such large numbers (of the 2.4 crore women in the Karnataka electoral list, 1.8 crore women cast their votes on May 15) it would be expected that  the  political parties would have given a large number of tickets to women candidates. The reality is that despite all this tall talk of smashing gender barriers, the number of tickets to women candidates has  shrunk drastically. Out of 224 assembly seats in Karnataka, the BJP gave a measly six seats to women candidates while the Congress gave 16.
Lack of access to clean, safe, private toilets is a major barrier around the world to girls like Atifa, and it’s an issue that disproportionately affects girls. No child should have to attend a school without toilets. But put bluntly, where toilets are not available it is easier – and more socially accepted – for boys to urinate outside than for girls, even in countries with far less strict views on girls’ behaviour than Afghanistan.
Harbouring such strong biases can cloud one’s judgments about oneself, especially about one’s abilities. Multiple studies have found that such implicit stereotypes, held by both men and women, can predict a participant’s math engagement, performance and achievement, intentions to pursue science-related majors, academic programs and careers. Among women, stronger implicit stereotypes predict worse math performance and achievement and weaker identification with math and science. Pervasive stereotypes associated science with men emerge early in development and exist across cultures.