Women are not doormats, but fighters: Sakshi Tanwar
From being objectified on screen to being denied security in the nation's capital, on International Women's Day, your favourite TV stars tell us about the unresolved issues that continue to haunt Indian women and more...
Over the years there has been a considerable shift in the position of women in our society.
From just being someone's daughter, mother, wife or sister, the Indian woman is finally having an identity of her own.
Whether it is in the field of politics, science and technology, business, sports, education or entertainment, the Indian woman is making her presence felt at the top globally.
There has been an increase in the percentage of literacy among women, and more and more women are taking up professional careers.
Portrayal of women in television and cinema has also evolved over the years.
From just being a strong, dedicated support to the decision makers (mostly men) in the family, today the female protagonists occupy the same space as that of the hero and sometimes even stronger.
Indian television specially has always had strong women as the main protagonist whether it was Lajjoji of Buniyaad or Kavita Chaudhary of Udaan.
Today from a child bride who educates herself to fight for the betterment of the women in her village to a Priya who is an educated and independent single mother, the women on TV are real, relatable, empowered.
They are not doormats but fighters who are ready to face challenges and the world at large. The very outlook of women is changing and so are the characters depicted on TV.
One of the biggest issues faced by Indian women is the lack of gender equality and safety for women.
The status of women in terms of equality of genders is still like two sides of the coin-- one side is promising, and other bleak.
When will the two sides of the coin be one? The only way is through change.
Every day should be a new day, a new awakening for them and that can only happen with change.
Today the call of the Indian woman is for greater respect and justice.
To achieve this, the change must come from us, within us, our families, neighbourhood, society etc...
With the increase in the literacy rates from less than 10 per cent to more than 50 percent today, India has the largest population of working women in the world.
We have a lot to be proud of and this can only happen if we are appreciated for what we are and what we want to be.
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Image: Sakshi Tanwar
Punishment to crimes against women must be severe: Shibani Kashyap
Although women in India are progressing rapidly getting empowered and succeeding and achieving massively there still looms large the issue of safety and security for women.
Crime against women has been increasing at an alarmingly rate!
The solution to this to my mind is to make the punishment of such crimes extremely severe to instill the fear in the criminals not to dare to even think of taking such a step.
Women in India should make an effort to learn forms of self defense like judo, karate or martial arts.
Police security and protection should be tightened.
And the legal system in India should be modified.
Apart from this issue there is the miserable issue of female infanticide which is shocking as it is rampant even in educated well-to-do households. I appeal to everyone to protest against this strongly.
On the other hand women in India are progressing in every field and one can actually see a shining ideal country if these issues are taken care of.
Image: Shibani Kashyap
Women are less corrupt: Divyanka Tripathi
When at work place, women are generally not treated as equals to the opposite sex or at least not taken seriously enough.
This also results in unequal remuneration.
One cannot deny that women are more hardworking, dedicated and even less corrupt. Then why not get paid for the job equally well?
And then there are these recently highlighted issues of sexual assault or harassment at the work place.
Inappropriate approach is made to look very natural as if it's a thumb-rule to get promoted or to be treated well -- 'If you like it, take it, if you don't, go home', as you don't want to enter into a legal mess.
And then when a women gets home from work, she is taken for granted there as well -- she will handle her children's homework and do all the housework, which is mostly considered as her duty.
A woman herself doesn't question the situation most of the time as this lack of respect for herself is inculcated in her from childhood.
She is taught to adjust and not demand.
Let us not misread our cultural values, our sanskars. Since our ancestors, our parents have always worshiped and respected Ma Durga, even we do.
The change truly begins at home. Young ones follow what they see.
Children who have seen their mother getting beaten up at home, may see nothing wrong in meting out the same treatment to their wives later.
Also, if we keep our women within the confines of our homes, to children it would simply mean that those women who are out are not meant to be treated well. So, if we begin respecting women at home the change will reflect in the society.
Other change required, is in our legal system. Why are we so slow to react?
The Nirbhaya case was not the first rape case in Delhi.
My friends in Delhi, even 10 years back, were not allowed to step outside their homes fearing sexual assault. Then why did the government take so long to act?
We need a fast-paced legal system so that the miscreants can be put to a check quickly and law-abiding citizens can get justice speedily.
It is important to win back the trust of a vulnerable section of our society in this unique legal system.
Women just need genuine respect.
Image: Divyanka Tripathi
Do not quietly suffer eve-teasing, domestic violence: Tina Dutta
The issues women face in our country today are female foeticide, domestic violence, gang rapes, eve teasing etc.
Firstly women should try to be independent which will make her financially stable and give her confidence to fight back.
It is important to not quietly suffer eve-teasing, domestic violence.
Discuss your problems with your parents, friends and if required take help from the local police.
One must also seek counseling if needed.
Image: Tina Dutta
Lack of respect is a big issue: Sara Khan
One of the main issues women are facing across the globe is identity crisis!
They no longer want be recognised only by their father or their husband's name.
They want to go out there and achieve their dreams and create their own identity.
However, women are still facing discrimination especially amongst the Asian community.
The biggest issue women are facing today is lack of respect!
We are living in a country where a woman's respect and value is most talked about yet there are rapes and killing girl child is still practice.
Image: Sara Khan
We must train our sons to be sensitive human beings: Disha Wakani
Today there are two big issues that women are facing.
One is eve-teasing and sexual harassment in metros and mini metros.
Second is demand for dowry and a male heir in smaller cities and villages. Both are inhuman.
I think that we need to bring in a change in the thinking and mind-set of the society.
As women, we have to train our sons to be better and more sensitive human beings.
The police and society has to be more vigilant about bad elements in the society.
They must come forward to help if a woman is in distress.
The law enforcers have to understand that a crime like rape is never consensual and instead of blaming the woman they should do an impartial inquiry.
Image: Disha Wakani
Early marriage, feticide should stop: Rupali Ganguly
I don't believe in days like Mother's Day, Father's Day, Women's Day etc and particularly more, after the recent cases of sexual assault happening in the country.
It is very sad to hear that women are not safe in their own city/ country.
The only way to change this is to educate girls not only by sending them to school but also by bringing about the way women think. The system has to be very strong.
It will take time but parents should start respecting their own daughters. Early marriage, feticide etc should stop.
If a woman changes herself then only will she be able to change the world.
Image: Rupali Ganguly
Stop treating women as toys: Mahi Vij Bhanushali
Rape is the biggest issue in today's world and I don't see an end to it and so is eve-teasing.
Every woman has to think before stepping out of the house. Why?
And so many girls are not safe in their own homes also!
It has just become so difficult for every woman in this world to breathe peacefully and I feel there should be strict measures taken against it.There should be an end to all this and people should stop treating women as toys and even should put an end to 'taking women for granted' as now we can stand for our rights and fight back.
Image: Mahi Vij Bhanushali
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com