New Delhi: When I was a child there was nothing I thought I could not do thanks to my parents, says Congress MP Priya Dutt. The 46-year-old MP believes empowerment begins in childhood through one`s parents.
"When I was a child there was nothing I thought I couldn`t do and that is thanks to my father (actor Sunil Dutt) and my mother (actress Nargis). My parents never said that Priya you couldn`t do this because you are a girl or... Only your brother (Sanjay Dutt) could do it because he`s a boy.
"Empowerment begins from that level," Dutt said at a function organised by Prachi Educational Society during which women achievers were felicitated along with national essay award winners ahead of Women`s Day on March 8.
Dutt opined that women live in contradictions as on one hand society worships female form as a goddess and on the other it is trying to "brainwash us into feeling that we are weak".
"Today, everyday we read about violence against women and again we live in contradiction in our own society when we talk about worshiping the goddesses and `har aurat main ek durga ka roop hai aur ek kali ka roop hai` (every woman has a goddess durga or kali inside her).
"So it is inherently we who have the strength but somewhere along the line we have forgotten it or is it society which is slowly making us or brainwashing us to believe that - listen you are weak or not able to achieve this or do this," Dutt added.
Delhi Women and Child Welfare Minister Kiran Walia while emphasising the contradictions harboured in the society, pointed out that women of all classes, irrespective of their professional achievements, were suffering either in the streets or through domestic violence.
"Our society has inherent contradictions and double-standards, and domestic violence cuts across all women, whether they are pilots, chartered accountants, engineers, administrators, they all suffer," she said.
"Talking about violence, it is shocking and shameful that little girls barely 3 or 8 years old are being raped and worse being gangraped. Sixty per cent of rape victims are minors. And, therefore we need more women-friendly courts," she said.
Kamla Bhasin, the coordinator of `One Billion Rising` campaign in South Asia giving the clarion call for women`s freedom described March 8 as a "day of festival for all women across the world".
"Patriarchy is deep-seated in women psyche too and if we want change, women too must shed that attitude. And, girls should not be raised like Barbie dolls. If we keep making up our bodies, we can never make our mind.
"We are `fair and lovely` in thinking and not some cosmetic product," Bhasin said.