On International Women’s Day, we at SheThePeople.TV asked super achieving, inspirational women this question: What is the one thing you would do to make the world a better place for girls and women?  

Here is what they have to say:

“The one thing I would do to make the world a better place for girls and women is to implement a strict zero tolerance policy for violence against women and girls everywhere, at workplace, schools, public spaces, etc. No exceptions made!” says Dr Shruti Kapoor, Founder, Sayfty.com.

Read More Stories on International Women’s Day Here

“The one thing I would do to make the world a better place for girls and women is promoting the importance of women supporting women to grow and achieve. It’s common for people to say that men have to make an environment suitable for women to thrive, but honestly it’s women who can make or break women. If a woman teaches her son to respect and strive for the women in his life to grow intellectually,  emotionally, professionally and spiritually. If a woman lets her daughter and daughter-in-law to grow in every way then automatically the society changes.  If a female boss understands the issues of her female employees and practices gender equality then professional spaces start improving.  If women build suitable support groups for their friends then women get safe outlets to grow and share along with resolving their issues. Let’s start with us women reaching out to fellow women and making the world a better place for them,”  says Advocate Puneet Bhasin, Cyber law expert Founder-Cyberjure Legal Consulting.

“Educate. Make them aware of themselves and the world around them. Give them cultural capital. Both online and offline. Let them have their own voice, to scream, to shout or cry. And, don’t let anyone else tell their story,” says Priya Malik, Actor, Spoken Word Performer.

“As a startup founder and the mother of a nine-year-old, I do the one thing I can do every day as a parent and as a founder:

I tell my daughter that she can be anything she wants to be, if she works hard for it.

I tell my women employees the same thing and I back it up with opportunities for them to take up diverse roles outside of their skill-sets and experience range.

I believe in this truth. My whole life and career is a testament to this truth.

That if you truly believe that you can be anything you want to be, you will be. Saying it is not enough. We must share this belief in the girls and women around us, till they believe it too. Everything else comes after,” said Ritu Soni Srivastava, Founder, Obino.

“I would ensure that there are many smart, successful role models young girls have around them who give them the confidence to succeed.

To do this I would ask all senior women, especially those who have shattered barriers and stereotypes to make themselves more vocal and visible in public spaces, in media and in real life so that our young girls are inspired by them. I would ask textbook writers and filmmakers and event organizers et al., to pledge that strong women are central to their theme whatever be the subject; technology or science or cooking or financial strategy or singing it doesn’t matter. Equal representation of women everywhere in every way must be a mandate,” shares Apurva Purohit, President – Jagran Prakashan Ltd.

Mahabanoo Mody-Kotwal, Theatre doyenne and gender rights activist shares, “According to me, EDUCATION is the single most important thing to make this world and especially our country a better place for our gender… Education not just for girls but also for boys, so that their worldview of gender equality, gender respect and gender awareness opens up their minds and rids them of outdated gender biased ideas, customs, rituals, etc. On another level, education also includes Sex Education, a subject that is taboo in our country. It is only through this that a balanced view of what both sexes need and want can be taught and understood.

Unfortunately, misogyny, patriarchy and religion have all worked against women at every level. It is high time we changed this narrative to make the life of women easier and most importantly joyous.”

Unfortunately, misogyny, patriarchy and religion have all worked against women at every level. It is high time we changed this narrative to make the life of women easier and most importantly joyous.

“It’s high time we made our world woman-centric. I want to ensure that women are represented at every level particularly at top levels in government, judiciary, police, corporates, etc. It may not be the fastest method, but it would be a beginning in the right direction. I would do so by educating and empowering women to make them realize that they are multi-dimensional, multi-talented, multi-tasking awesome beings who need to be awakened to their own power. No apologies. No permissions required.

And when a woman finally wakes up to her immense potential, the world obliges by falling into place and adjusting itself to become a better place for girls and women,” said Neelam Kumar, Author, Motivational Speaker, Life Skills Coach.

“If there is one thing that I would do to make the world a better place for women, it would be to raise them to be less timid, and self effacing and more self-confident. So many thousands of our daughters are raised in families where they are made to feel inferior to the men in the household, told they have to be deferential and unquestioning at all times. Told endlessly that their lot is to grow up as dutiful daughters, then dutiful wives, daughters-in-law and mothers, without expecting anything for themselves.

Timidity takes away self-confidence and keeps us from becoming the people we are meant to be. A woman who is not confident will never be able to put across her opinion or get her due either in her family, in society or at the workplace and that is a pity because we all know what a world without diversity would look like.

A woman who is not confident will never be able to put across her opinion or get her due either in her family, in society or at the workplace and that is a pity.

The change will happen only if parents consciously raise their children in a gender neutral household, a place where both boy and girl children get equal amount of the  family’s attention and resources. It requires a great shift in mindset, but I am hopeful that if we all set our minds to it, it is not such a big task.

I would also, absolutely, push for zero tolerance and harsh, stringent punitive action for any manner of harassment or assault upon a woman. Time to stop the pussy footing around that and send out a loud, clear message that women are not toys or playthings and it will cost dearly to mess with our daughter,” says Sudha Menon, Author and Writing Coach.

Author Annie Zaidi, says“I would make sure that property, especially land, passes down to daughters and sisters. In India, women are 42 percent of the agricultural workforce but own only 2% of our farmland. This 2% has come after a great many battles, a century of struggling for legal changes to enable women as citizens who can inherit property (for Christians and Hindus). Among Muslims, the religion itself enjoins that daughters and wives must inherit, but families have somehow managed to disenfranchise them by either spending money wastefully on weddings or handing over cash, over which they have little control in their marital homes. Property inheritance and housing rights for women have to be implemented with an iron hand if we are to solve related issues of dowry, unemployment, female foeticide, forced marriages and so on.”

“Mentoring and educating women and girls to get economic independence and do better in their chosen professions – is our motto,” share Sarika Bhattacharya, CEO Beyond Diversity Foundation.

“She needs SHE to thrive – Safety, Health and Empowerment,” writes Sonia Golani, Author.  

“She needs SHE to thrive – Safety, Health and Empowerment.”

“As a mother of two sons, I always craved for a daughter and when my son brought in his independent-minded, self-assured wife, I expected her to behave with me the way she was with her mother. Little did I realise that no girl is looking to replace her mother with her mom-in-law. I learnt then that as mothers, we must not try to change our girls to meet the stereotypical expectations we have from them. I learnt to be the best mother-in-law for my son’s wife, not her mother. Her mother is not replaceable,” shares Avnita Bir, Educationist.

Historian and author Ira Mukhoty says, “If I could do one thing to make women’s lives better I would put women in charge in all important roles and institutions. Women’s voices and concerns are always secondary, if they are, indeed, considered at all, and the world is run systematically and toxically from a male point of view. Having women in positions where they can deliver legislation, give justice, make laws, create safe working environments etc, I am convinced would do a great deal to make it easier for women to fulfil their dreams, to stop being silenced and to be recognised as the powerful, essential force they are.”

“Having women in positions where they can deliver legislation, give justice, make laws, create safe working environments etc, I am convinced would do a great deal to make it easier for women to fulfil their dreams.”

“The one thing I would do to make the world a better place for women and girls is to ensure that we change the way we bring up our boys. We need to ensure that both boys and girls do not have any kind of gender bias in their upbringing, only then will we be able to ensure that girls and women are respected as equals. It starts with toys, chores, education, career choices, equal pay, marriage or otherwise and succession laws, everything needs to be equal, and legal for both genders. I would also ensure that both genders respect each other and do not think that one is better or stronger than the other, both have their strengths and limitations and both need to understand, acknowledge and support each other,” said Dr Swati Popat Vats, President- Podar Education Network.

“There’s a difference between what I wish for, and what I would do.  What I wish for is a world where women can move freely, without fear at any time of day or night, without any danger of being assaulted, stared at or treated disrespectfully. I would like complete freedom for women (as well as men). My ideal world would be, where we  women, do not have to think twice about travelling alone, wearing what we please and doing whatever we want to do. We all know this is far from reality.

What would I do? I would urge parents to treat boys and girls equally. Gender roles are learnt in early childhood. Equality has to be emphasised in homes first. We do not need any handle-with-care-she-is-fragile treatment. All we are asking for, is treat us with respect. Being someone’s wife, mother or sister is not our only identity. Please notice us as individuals with our own needs, ambitions and hopes. Honour that. I would urge everyone to do this,” says Preeti Shenoy, Bestselling author.

“Two things for Women’s Day – for women to be more self compassionate, learning to build self care in their day to day schedule,” writes Sonali Gupta, counsellor.

Kusha Kalra, founder of Happy Lives, says, “The one cause I want to support for the rest of my life is empowering women who go through domestic violence and emotional abuse to break free from those toxic relationships/People and start a new life all over again without worrying about society, about financial support or about raising the kids alone, when asked, What one thing you would do to make this world a better place for girls and women.”

Sairee Chahal, founder and CEO of Sheroes, says, “Create a safe online space for girls and women to invest in themselves, their dreams, their voice.”

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