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India is a land of paradox

A land having the distinction of boasting the world's largest number of professionally qualified women is yet to ensure a life with dignity for the majority of its womenfolk!

India’s male to female ratio is an alarming 1000:933. Women form half of the country’s population, yet only about half of them are literate. Close to 1.5 lakh women become victims of various crimes annually, as per reported cases. Further, an estimated 5 crore women face mental and physical cruelty. Although, the legal marriageable age for a girl in India is 18 years, our girl child doesn’t have a say when she is going to be a woman!

Ironically enough, India has the distinction of having the world's largest number of professionally qualified women! India prides in having more women as doctors, surgeons, scientists and professors than the United States has. India is also proud of the Kalpana Chawalas, Indra Nooyis, P T Ushas, Sania Mirzas, Aishwarya Rais, Kiran Majumdar Shaws, Kiran Bedis, to name a few.

Then again, woman faces discrimination at her home, starting from womb to tomb. She ventures out to the street and she’s not sure what harassment would greet her at the corner. If she bears a daughter, she doesn’t know why rest of her life won’t be the same again! The saga continues; generation after generation; leaving little chance for Indian society to take a giant leap.

As a matter of fact gender-based discrimination and societal behavior leading to physical and psychological harassments, emotional violence bordering on cruelty is never scant in woman’s basket of woes. Social evils begin at the womb with female feticides, infanticides, sexual harassments, rape and dowry related tortures putting an end to her misery only at the tomb!

In order to make the women realize their inner strength and importance in the society, Swabhiman has taken a pledge to illuminate their lives with Pride and Dignity!

Swabhiman, an initiative of Smile Foundation, aims to bring pride and dignity for our girl. Swabhiman, meaning self-respect, is a programme designed to enable women to realize their full potential in every sphere, be it home, office or community. This programme helps in enhancing the skills and information relevant to make them realize their self-esteem. Again, Swabhiman is not anti-men, but it encourages women to defend themselves and escape from violence and advocates men to be a part of bringing due dignity for our girl child.

1st Milestone [Achievements]

Swabhiman started getting an overwhelming response from the participants, communities, institutions and organizations alike within a short time of its launch in Delhi & NCR. During first year of its launch Swabhiman has reached out to around 4000 beneficiaries through 50 communities and organizations

Women of Substance on Swabhiman

Swabhiman, in course of its short yet eventful journey, has received real value addition as well as accolades from women of substance! These women have set their own roads in life, and thus set examples for others to excel, have been associated with Swabhiman during various activities and programmes. Comments, suggestions and observations from a few of them are as mentioned below:

"There is a night-and-day difference women having training like this and those not having this. In crisis, they are the best people to come out as winners.”

-- Dr. Kiran Bedi, IPS

“Woman has been gifted with all vital knowledge in capsules by Nature. So she should feel privileged to lead her own way in life, be it personal or professional.”

-- Ms. Sushma Seth, Actor

“I am very proud of being a mother and a wife. “You can be down, but never in any point of life feel that you are out.”

-- Ms. Alka Saxena, journalist

“If you feel you can do it, the way to the top is not impossible.” She refers to her feat of conquering Mt. Everest twice and finding a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the only women in the world to have done so.”

-- Ms. Santosh Yadav, Mountaineer

“For a woman to be successful, she has to grow everyday and take up life positively.”

-- Ms. Anjolie Ela Menon, Painter

“Never accept being ‘allowed’ by others to do something. One must be aware of one’s right and freedom.”

-- Ms. Feroz Gujral, Model


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