As part of International Women’s Day initiative, we spoke to Sarika Gupta Bhattacharyya of BD Foundation to know her thoughts on the challenges women face in India. BD Foundation is a Global Diversity Consultant, working towards developing an inclusive world.

In India, what are the main challenges that women face?

While globally, the challenges faced by women are similar – safety, accessibility to education and health, economic independence, cultural bias. On a policy level, India has been able to push many boundaries in recent times – but the biggest challenge is still the mindset and beliefs which need to change. The idea that women are still considered as second class by many is not alien to both urban and rural India.

The idea that women are still considered as second class by many is not alien to both urban and rural India.

What are your hopes and dreams for the women of the next generation?

The day when we won’t need to celebrate one specific day of the year as Women’s Day to either celebrate our achievements, or to highlight the challenges, that day I will know that women are now part of the mainstream – they are truly included.

Women’s Day Month

How can women support women?

I would urge each woman to mentor and guide another woman or a young girl with their professional, personal and help them achieve their aspirations. Also, it is great when we celebrate and cheer other women’s achievements – that in a true sense is true women supporting women.

It is great when we celebrate and cheer other women’s achievements – that in a true sense is true women supporting women.

What is the one moment in the past year that has been the most empowering for women according to you?

Milestones like – Sabarimala verdict which was possible when women stood together to create a women’s wall was awesome. That was a goosebump moment as the world took notice of how women, when they come together and speak up, can change old beliefs and change policies.

I would urge the govt. to do mass gender sensitisation sessions, start inclusive training in schools, create access to education, hygiene and job opportunities for girls.

What are the key issues that governments need to tackle to make women safer and happier?

While policies and law and order is important, but it has been proven that progressive and developed nations have seen less gender-based violence. I would urge the govt. to do mass gender sensitisation sessions, start inclusive training in schools, create access to education, hygiene and job opportunities for girls. We need to start young to create more inclusive future citizens.

Sarika Gupta Bhattacharyya is the CEO of BeyonDiversity Foundation.

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