Over the years, sports has become one of the most powerful mediums that has brought about a change in the way society functions and influences opinions. It is a great tool for empowering women too.
Kofi Annan, the 2001 noble peace prize winner once said, “There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women.”
Women empowerment, in simple terms, is the idea of providing women with equal opportunities to succeed both personally and professionally. ‘Why do we need to empower women you ask?’ Well, there are numerous reasons why. Society, over the course of the last century, has just begun to realize the importance of providing equal opportunities to women. The right to vote, the right to education, the right to contest elections or the right to choose a career are just some of the rights women were lacking not so long ago; and in some parts of the world, they can’t exercise it, even today.
Over the years, sports has become one of the most powerful mediums that has brought about a change in the way society functions and influences opinions. Today, more than ever, the reach and followership of sport can be effectively used to spread the message about women empowerment across the globe. It is essential that we utilize this power of sport to empower the women of today, to stand up for themselves, stand up for what they believe in and provide opportunities that encourage them to leave a mark in history.
History is a testament to the fact that women empowerment needs to be an all-round affair, with adequate support from the Government as well as the private bodies of a community. Over the years, the Indian Government and sporting associations have come up with various plans and incentives to encourage the participation of women in sport. As part of the ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ programme, the Government has launched several smaller campaigns like the Sukanya Samridhi Yojana, Mukhyamantri Laadli Yojana, and Nanda Devi Kanya Yojana that strive to provide financial assistance to girls, thus enabling them to pursue a career in academics as well as sport. Even sporting accessory brands like Nike, Puma, Adidas, among others have joined forces to empower women in sport through powerful campaigns like Nike’s ‘Dream Crazier’ and Puma’s ‘Do You’, that are aimed at honoring women athletes, and urging more women to follow their dreams and do the impossible.
IndusInd Bank has always been an advocate of the inclusive power of sports. For many years, the team at IndusInd Bank, has seen some remarkable women athletes pour their hearts out on the field, and it is this dedication that they have towards their sport, that has urged us to support them to the best of our abilities. Since its inception, IndusInd Bank’s ‘IndusInd For Sport’ and specifically their ‘Girl Power Program’ in partnership with Inspire Institute of Sports (IIS) have helped nurture and develop numerous Indian women athletes, across various sporting verticals, by providing them with adequate financial and logistical assistance. Their roster of female athletes include the likes of All India University Championship boxers like Manisha Moun and Sonu Punia, Judo prodigies like Pinky Balhara, Rebina Chanam Devi and Thangjam Tababi Devi along with international wrestling powerhouses like Geeta, Babita, Ritu, and Vinesh Phogat. Even though they support some of India’s most reputed woman sports stars, their primary focus still remains towards the development and growth of the young and amateur female athletes, striving to become the superstars of tomorrow.
With many Indian and global brands shifting focus towards the development and empowerment of women, we believe there will be more women participating in sports in the coming years. The women of today are counting on you to not just stand up for change, but also be the change yourselves because no matter how hard the government bodies or global brands work towards the development of women, it is the changes in perception of the average individuals that will truly help empower women. It is time to change the saying “teach a woman to fish and everyone eats for a lifetime” to “let a woman play and inspire a generation more”.
I am a confused cat woman with a penchant for writing 🙂
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