Though much educated than their counterparts elsewhere in the country, women in Kerala say unanimously that they are in a worse situation than their mothers, according to dancer and social activist Mallika Sarabhai. Interacting with the media as part of her State-wide campaign on gender awareness, organised by the Kerala State Women's Development Corporation (KSWDC), she said that NGOs for women in Gujarat could play a major role in checking atrocities against women there.
Ms. Sarabhai has visited around 30 women's colleges in the State, meeting the girls there, discussing the injustices they face and suggesting solutions. She has produced a short film titled ‘Unarthupattu' (song of awakening) based on case studies provided by the KSWDC, under the banner of Darpana Academy, Ahmadabad, which KSWDC plans to distribute in the State with the help of NGOs.
“I spoke to around 20,000 women, the results of which were overwhelming and heart-breaking at the same time. My intention was to make them express their thoughts instead of hiding them out of fear,” she said and added that creating awareness was the only way to achieve that goal. She also said that boys too needed to be made aware of the insecurities faced by women.
The activist said that the problems presented by girl students in all the colleges she visited, whether rural or urban, were almost similar. “They were hesitant about talking in the beginning, but once they started, there was no stopping them,” she added.
Answering a query regarding the organisation of men against atrocities by women, she said that it was like dogs having an association against people who bite them. “Comparatively, the atrocities against women are way too much. Hence we shall discuss the latter fifty years from now,” she said.
Ms. Sarabhai told the students to say ‘NO' if they did not like something. Parents were urged to provide the girls education, build their confidence and then leave them to live on their own. She advised the young women to be cautious in love.
Minister for Social Welfare and Panchayats M.K. Muneer said that counsellors would be selected from amongst the students who attended the awareness classes. They would be trained to reach out to those in need.
Students from five colleges in the district — Providence Women's College, KMCT Women's College, MES Women's College, Guruvayurappan College and Dayapuram College — took part in the programme.