Breaking the Bias

Breaking the cocoon of patriarchy and gendered attitudes, our courageous Girl Icon, Roshni is fighting to bring about change in society. Currently, a second-year student, pursuing her Bachelor’s in Science, this young rebel believes education is the only tool to empower everyone.

Read on for Roshni’s Story!

An 18-year-old girl, Roshni comes from a small village known as Hardoi in Uttar Pradesh. She lives with her parents, two sisters and a brother. Belonging to a community of farmers, Roshni’s father is the only wage earner of their family, with a meagre income of INR 5,000 per month while he struggles to make ends meet. Her mother is a homemaker and stays behind to look after the children and undertake household chores. However, through all the hardships faced daily by her family, Roshni has never given up hope.

“My community says – what is the point of educating girls? Even if they want to go to college, how will they? How can they travel alone? What if something happens to them?”

The gendered attitudes and patriarchal power structures in our country confine girls to the four walls of their homes, restricting their social mobility and limiting their control over all aspects of life, such as education, decision making and relationships. But girls like Roshni are a shining example of how with proper determination, girls can break away from the cage of patriarchy and follow their dreams and change the outlook of society at large.

In 2016, the Annual Status Education Report revealed that only 23% of women, between 15-49 years, have completed 12 or more years of schooling, which is unfortunate but true. Roshni is determined to fight this situation and bring a change in every girl’s life. She says, “In today’s world, people have a lot of negative thinking. I want to change this particular attitude so that they are not blinded, and instead, they see girls’ education as something positive.”

In a state where only 32% of women enjoy the freedom of mobility – allowed to go alone to the market, health facilities or places outside their communities/villages – Roshni is a rebel. She is vocal about her opinion on girls’ freedom of movement. “As girls, we are always restricted from doing what we want. We are held back from achieving our dreams and stopped from stepping out of our homes. However, people do not understand that they cannot contain us for long.”

Roshni further aspires to study law. She is also a sports fan and loves to play kabaddi and badminton. This courageous, young revolutionary tutors 6 children in her village to pay her college fees. 

Roshni wants to advocate for the rights of those who cannot stand up for themselves. Roshni shared that the Girl Icon training not only gave her the opportunity to voice her opinion but also equipped her with the skills to impart the same learnings to more girls in her village. During an art-based activity in training, Roshni drew a girl surrounded by chaos – buses, people, and roads, everywhere. When asked to explain her idea, she said, “Before being a Girl Icon, it was my biggest fear to come out of my village and travel to a city. But now, I have gained confidence, and I know that next time, I can travel alone to attend the training.”

She believes that for our world to move forward and flourish, people need to step out of their patriarchal cocoons and support girls. “I want to be a role model to the girls in my community. I want to show them that if I can achieve my dreams, so can they.”

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