Thousands of women in the UK and India in the last three days have adopted the mantra of ‘Beta Padhao, Beti Bachao’ (“Let’s Educate our Boys to Save Our Girls”) in a bid to refocus on going efforts aimed at saving and empowering the girl child in India.
The slogan was coined by Indian Ladies in UK, the largest Indian women’s community group in Britain, on 08th March – International Women’s Day – and is an allusion to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s widely promoted ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ initiative, which aims to improve the education, welfare and well-being of girls in India.
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Following an appeal by ILUK, thousands of women have changed their Social Media profile pictures in solidarity with ILUK’s initiative.
‘Beta Padhao, Beti Bachao’ promotes the message that the most important factor in improving the circumstances of the girl child in India is to educate their male siblings, friends and peers not only on vital issues like equality and empathy but apparently “taboo” subjects such as female menstrual and reproductive health.
ILUK founder Poonam Joshi said: “India is the most dynamic and talked-about country in the world right now. There is so much hope and potential for the future of our country. And yet, the global discourse about India is dominated by stories of oppression against women and minorities. We believe that the only way to change that conversation is by promoting education, specifically the education of our boys.
“As a mother of three boys, there is no greater duty for me than to educate my sons not just to have amazing jobs in the future but to respect and empathize with their female counterparts. I was born and raised in India so I understand the inequality that has become second nature for us – not just on the part of men but the women who turn a blind eye to inequality. That has to stop. And the only place to begin is in our homes. It is imperative for all of India’s mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters to stop passing on the stigma of inequality and injustice to our boys and start educating them from when they are toddlers that a better world is possible if they treat their female counterparts with generosity, empathy and equality.
It’s a message that the ILUK executive committee communicated to Mr Modi during an audience with the Prime Minister on 20th April, during the Indian leader’s visit to London to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.Three days later at an election rally in Central India, Mr Modi repeated the sentiment, calling on families to better educate their sons and make them more responsible.