Modi@4: Our Buri Ladki Has Your Report Card for Women
Illustrators: Erum Gour & Arnica Kala
Video Editor: Vivek Gupta
Cameraperson: Shiv Kumar Maurya
“BSF’s women bikers make India proud” read the headlines on India’s 69th Republic Day. It was indeed a bright start to yet another year of highs and lows for the women in the country.
With PM Modi’s government completing four years in power, allow The Quint’s Buri Ladki to walk you through the rise and fall of the Indian woman through her eyes.
Who is this Buri Ladki you ask? Well, the not-so-sankari, meant to stand-out, woman with a mind of her own and a voice that can’t be tamed – ‘naam toh suna hoga’. Now that you know her, let’s rewind the last four years.
Do you remember this year’s Republic Day Parade? It was such a wow moment to see those BSF’s woman contingent ride their bikes to glory.
We thought then that that was the beginning of the year we smashed the patriarchy.
Our girls, Saina Nehwal, Manika Batra and MC Mary Kom, bagged CWG medals.
The Supreme Court ruled in Kerala woman Hadiya’s favour, allowing her to stay with the husband she chose.
And self-styled Godman Asaram Bapu was sentenced to life imprisonment in an alleged rape case.
We raged and ranted in the middle when a JNU student, Sheena Thakur, was actually manhandled for protesting sexual violence! And then the very worst happened – Kathua, Unnao and many more rape cases came to light.
The nation hung its head in shame.
2017 reminds me of when our very own PeeCee got trolled for baring her knees to the PM.
But she took them down by showing more legs in a picture posted on her Instagram page. What a badass!
Also, there was a survey conducted by Accenture doing the rounds that shows that men earn 67% more than women in India. Wake up bharatiya naari, it’s time to earn our money back.
And then we rewound and our hearts skipped a beat as a brave woman journalist lay gunned down at the nation’s feet. Veteran Journalist Gauri Lankesh had been killed on 5 September 2017. And we wondered, did they kill a journalist? Or our freedom of speech?
“Mumbai College bans students from wearing distressed jeans’’ read headlines at the end of the year. We ended the year outraged and angry –but then, a few good things came our way too.
The Indian Air Force got its first women fighter pilots.
Sakshi Malik, Dipa Karmakar and PV Sindhu smashed their way into our hearts.
One woman climbed the ranks to become the first female CM of Jammu & Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti.
Such a world of problems a woman caused.
Miss Deepika Padukone got trolled for her ‘My Choice’ video that was meant to address women’s empowerment.
Students from different colleges and universities across Delhi came together as part of the Pinjrao Tod movement to fight the restrictions imposed on women students.
What came next was the ‘Happy to Bleed’ social media campaign that rolled into motion after Sabarimala Temple Board’s scandalous suggestion to install machines to test whether a woman is menstruating before being allowed to enter the temple.
The women this year were seen fighting for their opinions, their movement, and then the most natural occurrence in the world, menstruation.
And just like that, all these stories came to light, and left just as quickly.
But stories of gender inequality never seemed to end.
According to a report by PRS Legislative Research, only 61 out of 543 MPs elected to the Lok Sabha are women.
As per a UNDP report, over 80% of our women don’t have access to bank accounts.
And oh by the way, Indian men apparently do just 19 minutes of housework in a day.
Says who? A survey by Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
But, Michele Obama honouring our acid attack survivor, Laxmi has to be our favourite news from this year.
In the last four years, women have soared despite the billion obstacles we put in their way. Imagine what they could do if they were truly free.
Can we put an end this ‘one step forward and several steps back’ mentality?
It’s time to live the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao slogan in letter and in spirit.