Meeting India’s delegates at the Gender Equity Summit: Bending norms through football and activism

As Rima Kumari determined when two women returned to her village, Sildiri, in Jharkhand’s Ormanjhi region after participating in a world soccer match in Spain, “I cannot be a typical village woman.”

As I observed people discussing these two ladies, I wondered why they were not treated like me – a typical village woman. Is there a reason why they were not expected to get married? I wished to be the same. Therefore, I considered playing soccer because that’s how they did it,” says Rima.

However, the journey was not without its challenges. As Rima (19) explains to, most women in her village are forced into child marriage, only to be subjected to domestic violence later in life. “They advised me that you can study until you are five or six years of age, after which you will have to learn household chores since you will get married as soon as you are a child. In a dictatorship, it was dictated to me, as if I were under a dictatorship,” she recalls.

Together with other delegates, Rima Kumari looks forward to the World Summit. This is a credit score for Rima Kumari.

Her father, a tailor, discouraged her from participating in soccer during her first attempt in 2013. At age 10, Rima decided to sneak out and play without her father’s permission, confiding only in her mother.

When Rima’s ruse failed, she was confronted with questions and accusations a few weeks later. This was not just the opinion of my father; it was the opinion of all of my neighbours, my village, and my community. As a result, I was trying to violate social norms; they would call me a bad example for women in our village.

The ice only thawed when she travelled to Surat, Gujarat, for a Frisbee competition. “No one from my household had ventured outside the village to be impressed.”

Rima coaches soccer to younger ladies in Sildiri, Jharkhand. (Twitter/YUWA soccer)

As a result, Rima gained the support and confidence of her family in 2015 when she travelled to Spain for the first time to participate in the Donosti Cup, a world soccer competition.

Her travels were motivated by a strong desire for change. Several issues exist in Jharkhand, including baby marriages, child labour, and domestic violence. Our society does not consider them to be a problem. In my mind, I see the story of my grandmother, aunt, or another young lady. What have they accomplished? In their early years, they learned how to cook, married, and after a year, they became parents. It is still necessary for them to ask their husbands for everything. During my travels, I observed women being independent, making choices, and driving their vehicles. My first thought was, why is my village so different from others? What is the reason for the difference in treatment between men and women? That was when it occurred to me: “No, this is not right.”

To pay for her and her sister’s college expenses, Rima began teaching under-12 and under-14 girls soccer. Furthermore, she has spoken at various international forums on gender inequality and her journey.

Thousands of miles away in New Delhi, Kashvi Chandok, the daughter of a middle-class family, grapples with subtle forms of gender inequality that are not as overtly discriminatory as baby marriage but are nonetheless widespread and dangerous.

Kashvi Chandok with refugee ladies from Afghanistan throughout a UNDP challenge. (Credit score: Kashvi Chandok)

Growing up in India, you experience both passive and active discrimination. There are many restrictions placed on you, both stated and unsaid. During the birth of my younger sister, my mother told me that our family had inhibitions because now we had two females in the home. As a child, you were told things like you have become fat or that you should not expose yourself to the sun. It is necessary to be acutely aware of so many beauty requirements. Kashvi (21) knows several women who suffer from body dysmorphia.

Physique dysmorphia is the perception that certain aspects of one’s appearance are severely flawed and that extraordinary measures must be taken to correct or conceal these defects.

With a lifelong passion for humanitarian work, Kashvi joined forces with the Delhi Fee for Girls and the Mahila panchayats of villages throughout the Nationwide Capital Area. The field visits to the villages struck a chord with her. Although these women had been abused by their husbands and in-laws, they did not wish to divorce them. That was a shocking development for me. Mahaila panchayats would assist them in contacting the police or filing an FIR. However, even they did not believe that divorce was ever an option. If that were the case, life could be much worse, proper?”

Kashvi Chandok was declared a Younger Changemaker by UNHCR (Credit score: Kashvi Chandok)

Aside from working on a challenge for Afghan women refugees with the United Nations Improvement Initiative, Kahvi was also named a World Younger Changemaker by the United Nations Excessive Commissioner for Refugees. Kahvi is studying international relations at the American College in Washington DC as a Martin H Steiner scholar.

On November 4 in Toronto, Canada, Kashvi will represent India at the World Summit for ladies leaders, organized by Fora: Community for Change, previously known as the G(girls)20 Summit.

The pair is one of 30 female delegates selected by Fora from around the world. In addition to discussing gender fairness, the delegates will present their ideas to the Fee on the Standing of Girls, a fee imposed by the United Nations Financial and Social Council. “Innovation for an equitable future” will be the summit’s theme, which aligns with the fee’s precedence theme for 2023.

Due to the summit’s focus on women leaders, Kashvi describes it as a “haven” for women to express themselves and network with other women of similar interests. “I feel safer, more heard, and more motivated to share my views, lessons learned, and experiences. I think it is essential to foster these kinds of spaces-women-led spaces where we can come together and discuss policies, big decisions, and how to bring about positive change,” Kashvi states.

“I also think that when we talk about women leaders, everyone assumes that you are only concerned about gender. However, this is not the case. She explains that women can contribute to more significant policy decisions, such as local weather or debt reconstruction.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button