Kiran Bedi inspires forgotten 'Role Models' on Women's Day

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New Delhi, Mar 6 (UNI) First woman IPS officer Kiran Bedi today called for dismissing the status perception that women have about various jobs.

'' Local girls can remain hungry but would not do such a job.

The main problem is, we differentiate among jobs in terms of status.

If we will be called to work in a five star hotel, it will be considered a high profile job, but when as a helper in a small house then no, no matter the work and salary being the same,'' she said two days ahead of International Women's Day.

Dr Bedi, an inspiration for all working for women empowerment, invited a select group of eight community girls from Smile Foundation -- 'Role Models' -- to her residence here to inspire them while celebrating the day with those unsung achievers in various communities. During the interaction, the members put forward various problems they come across to get Dr Bedi's advice.

''Why don't we become a supportive system. Not every lady can become a doctor, engineer or managing director. There is always a hierarchy in every job, small or big. So they can study and grow with time,'' Dr Bedi said.

The Magsaysay award winner has been attached with the organisation since its establishment and advise them regularly in self-defence techniques.

Reena, Rubina, Babita, Sona, Kiran, Chandrakala, Sameera and Sunita were the eight trained catalysts of Swabhiman programme from the Foundation, who in their teens, have already achieved the status of 'role models' in their communities and have been the aspiring 'future change makers'.

''It is a very special gift for us on this special day and we will always be thankful to her,'' said Meena Batra, Programme Director, Smile Swabhiman.

Swabhiman is a special project from Smile Foundation under which, the organisation works for women empowerment and development of girl child and women. It is working for a population of 78,000 in New Delhi and 52,000 in rural Haryana.

A week-long drive and campaign is being carried out in all these areas. 'Nukkad natak' (street corner play), role plays, songs, interactions, among others, were organised under the theme 'Inspiration' targeting adolescent girls directly and their influence groups like boys, the elderly and children indirectly.

When asked about some way where such poor women can reside while earning their own livelihood, she gave the idea of house-keeping and baby sitting. She said, ''Today, every working woman needs a housekeeper at home. So the girls can be trained in the same arena.

In this way, they will work in the presence of another woman and be safe.'' Talking about the evil of human trafficking, she said, ''In the present era, a majority comes from tribal areas who don't understand the culture and language here and so they become victims. Why don't our locals do the same work?'' She noted various works that the training should consist of such as telephone work, message typing, managing house work, ironing and others.

''This way they can study and earn also,'' she said, pointing out that at present, every earning woman could make another one earn too, who needed a secured employer that is a woman. ''They don't need men,'' she added.

She suggested about a training programme, 'Choti Behan', in which, girls could play the role of younger sisters, taking care of things in the employer's absense. A group should be maintained, which can have their feedback from time to time and visit them regularly so as to check if any exploitation has been done, she said.

She said every girl should have a bank account of her own from where she could give some amount to her family as well as take care of herself too. She noted that the organisation should be the gaurdian of the account so that it can be managed properly.

''They can help the organisation too in monetary terms. In this way, they'll give to Swabhiman, and vice versa,'' she added.

She also made them meet her own employee Anu, who manages her daily routine of work like computer work, camera work and managing clothes. ''So, you can be a choti behan or beti like her.'' She suggested a volunteering program in which they need counselling wherein they should be taught that they cannot be dependent on society's approval. They have to take their own decisions and do what they think was right.

She also suggested them to make the members wear organisation's uniform, may be a jacket, so that other people would see them and volunteer themselves for the social cause.

Smile Foundation is a national level development organisation working on education and healthcare of underprivileged children across 21 states of the country.


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