We all know that our good deeds determine our destiny. One such woman who has earned the respect of the masses through her dogged determination, hard work and her pursuit of elevating lives is Usha Chaumar. She is the President of Sulabh International Social Service Organisation and has been recently awarded the Padma Shri for her inspiring social work. Through her work, she has been instrumental in uplifting women by encouraging them to become financially independent. She is also an activist who often raises her voice against manual scavenging. Usha spoke to SheThePeople.TV about the honour she has received and on the importance of women’s safety.

On receiving Padma Shri

An elated Usha told SheThePeople.TV, “I consider myself fortunate to be chosen by the government of India for this honour. I thank the Indian government for this. I am very inspired by Shri Narendra Modi because he is the first Prime Minister who is doing so much for the cleanliness of the country.”

Role of parents in ensuring women’s safety

She feels parents can play an important role in ensuring the safety of their daughters. “I feel parents should teach their sons to perceive all girls as their sisters. They should be taught to respect them and give them the courage to step out of their homes without any fear”, she said.

Giving her example, she explained how she feels bad when someone tells her not to go outside after dark. She firmly believes that women will be able to accomplish much more if they are made to feel safe.

Also: SheLeads: Financial Independence More Vital Than ‘Settling Down’

Treating children equally at home

Usha also feels that parents shouldn’t discriminate between sons and daughters and have the same rules for both of them. “Parents don’t enquire sons about who they are talking to on phone but they are curious to know the same in case of their daughters. Boys can stay out even after dark but girls can’t. This discrimination should end. It is only when boys support girls that they will be able to march ahead in life.”

“Boys can stay out even after dark but girls can’t. This discrimination should end. It is only when boys support girls that they will be able to march ahead in life.”

Importance of financial independence for women

“Most women are dependent on their husbands for money. I feel that women are so talented that they can work, earn for themselves and be financially independent”. Taking a cue from her own life, she said, “Initially, I didn’t have my personal identity. I was my husband’s wife but now I have my own identity.I wish the same for all my sisters.”

Talking about the transformation she has undergone, she says that she would hesitate while talking to men but now she does it confidently and also work on empowering other women.

Women can accomplish more if they are made to feel safe.

Message to other women and girls

Her message to all the girls and women out there is to study well, work hard and marry only after becoming self-reliant and financially independent.

Read Also: Usha Chaumar: From A Manual Scavenger To A Padma Shri Awardee

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