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Can ‘Being A Parent’ And ‘Regret’ Be Used In the Same Sentence?

Posted: February 3, 2023

[With modern life comes, modern problems; climate change, inflation, unstable housing market and fear of the next pandemic. And these immediate concerns have put many people from embracing parenthood or forced them to re-examine parenthood from a new angle. The author of this post has provided a point of view, which may or may not align with the readers. The author doesn’t mean to judge anyone’s choices.]

Can ‘being a parent’ and ‘regret’ be used in the same sentence? Are we evolved and/or aware enough to even consider it?

Here is a snippet of a conversation on parenthood!

R says: The other day I read an articlewhich covered some parents expressing regret over

parenthood; so, as a generation are we evolved enough to be able to express regret (if that is
how we feel) over becoming parents?

S says: I’m not sure. I mean, I understand it, and I’m certainly not judging it. It once again boils down to the issue of commitment. Parenting is hard work. And it is a commitment of a lifetime.

And in today’s nuclear family setting, parents are on their own. It is natural to get overwhelmed. It is natural to feel a sense of regret over lost freedom.

You are no longer the same person you once were, and there’s no going back.

The key thing here is that giving up is not really an option

My two cents on this: Accept it. Accept that you aren’t perfect and you feel remorse from time to
time. Accept that you cannot give up. Get a babysitter for the nights it gets too much and take
some time out. And move on.

What’s your take?

R says: Well, parenthood is tough. I think different generations has different issues; these days
because of tons of choices available to us, we see what we are missing out on while rearing a
child, and that probably makes one feel miserable.

Changing times shape our decision!

Am I evolved enough to claim I am miserable when I am; well, yes, I guess.A few generations back or more ago, all that the majority of women were doing: was taking care of their family. Nor was there the pill or concept of family planning, which made parenthood a compulsion. In such a scenario, women of that time, probably if they did not have children; there would be tons of remorse because of the times they were living in.

Hence, now I think this is not a case of evolved minds, it is just a case of changing times!

Image source: Greenaperture via Getty Images, free and edited on CanvaPro

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Poem On Internalized Body Image Issue: Am I Enough?

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TW: Eating disorder, body-image issues, mentions of drugs.

Am I skinny enough?

Should I lose more weight?

Should I eat less?

Maybe I should take some pills.

Should I sleep more to avoid eating?

Will keeping myself busy make me forget about eating?

Maybe I shouldn’t meet my friends,

If I do, I would have to eat.

And my seven days fast would go to waste.

Is that one piece of dosa?

I had in the morning,

Making me look fat?

Maybe I should vomit

Forcefully after this meal,

Secretly without anyone noticing.

Maybe I should start cardio

Maybe I should work out more

Maybe I should do yoga

Maybe I should just do drugs

Maybe

Maybe

Maybe

Maybe

Maybe someday I will be enough.

Will I ever be enough?

Image source: Still from Ad Campaign by Dove #StopTheBeautyTest, edited on CanvaPro

If our readers or someone you know is suffering from eating-disorders because of body image issues or if social anxiety is leading them to harmful thoughts: please try to get help immediately.

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New Blood Test For Breast Cancer Early Detection A Game Changer!

Trigger Warning: This speaks of breast cancer and cervical cancer, and may be triggering for survivors.

A recent article in the morning newspaper reported that there is now a blood test which can help in the early detection of breast cancer.

This test has been developed a few years ago as this 2019 article in the Science Daily says, but possibly only now in the news.

New blood test for breast cancer detection a ‘game changer’ for women?

Good news, very good news indeed! After all, compared to regular cancer screening which can take anywhere from 7-10 days, other than being invasive and painful, this test is non-invasive and the reports come in as fast as 2 days! A game changer. That’s what Dr. Pramod Gautam, Associate Professor, Biochemistry, AIIMS, said about it.

Speaking of “game changers”, we definitely need more of those, particularly where women’s health is concerned. With World Cancer Day being observed on the 4th of February every year, it is important to note that in India, breast cancer, closely followed by cervical cancer, is one of the most common types of cancer among women.According to Indian guidelines, women in high risk categories must get an annual mammogram after the age of 25 years. This of course, is simply a guideline.

An enormous percentage of women in our country are completely unaware about when, how and what they need to do to ensure early detection of cancer. The total lack of focus on women’s health is a primary cause of this.

Some cancers are preventable, and early detection crucial

A new report said that cancer deaths in the US have declined by a third over the past three decades. Increased awareness, focus on women’s health, vaccinations, and regular screening are some of the most important factors which will help us replicate this trend in India.

Did you know that India accounts for the highest number of cervical cancer cases in the world? Compromised hygiene and illness infection are the chief reasons for HPV (Human Papillomavirus) which is the root cause of cervical cancer.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 4.1 million women in India have died from the disease since 2019, and without intervention, as many as 5.7 million will die by 2070. Which is why the importance of vaccination and regular screening cannot be over emphasized. The new quadrivalent vaccine, called “Cervavac,” developed by the Serum Institute of India (SII), offers protection against four strains of HPV and is so much more affordable compared to foreign vaccines. It has in fact, like the breast cancer blood test, been called a “game changer”. Furthermore, a simple Pap smear can detect cervical cancer in the pre-cancerous stage.

These game changers can decrease deaths and complications, but…

It is a pity that despite medical support, there is a needlessly high incidence of late detection and subsequent mortality. Factors like fear, social stigma, lack of familial support and low awareness, are the culprits. Suffice it to say that even educated, enlightened women will regularly slot out time for a manicure at the salon, but will develop a strange, inexplicable sense of lethargy or reluctance while scheduling a much needed pap smear or mammography.

Medical science is making rapid progress to make vaccination, screening and treatment affordable and easily available, but there also has to be speedy progress in attitudes and outlook. For instance, less than 10% of women in India have been screened for cervical cancer in the past 5 years. LESS THAN 10%. That’s not an encouraging figure, is it?

It is therefore evident, that there is a lot that needs to be done and no time to waste. So let’s get started, shall we? And what better place to start than yourself? Might be time to slot in that very necessary pap smear or vaccination into your busy schedule right away, ladies. No more procrastination. It’s time to act.

Image source: a still from the Marathi film Photo Prem

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10 Places In Leh Ladakh That You Need To See!

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As summer is fast approaching, it is time to plan that Leh Ladakh trip you have been waiting for. But what to see and where to start? Here is a list for you! 

Ladakh is a unique location. There are no words to adequately describe the beauty of the location. Leh Ladakh, has a wealth of natural beauty, making travel there a wonderful experience. In Leh Ladakh, there are many places to visit that are incredibly pristine and beautiful. Ladakh is a region that is worth visiting because of its distinctive blend of Buddhist, Tibetan, and Indian influences.

So, scroll down to learn what to expect on your Leh Ladakh bike trip by girls as you select among the top tourist destinations in Leh Ladakh.

Shyok River

The Shyok River is another of the most well-known tourist destinations in Leh Ladakh trip for girls. This river, an Indus tributary, originates in the Rimo Glacier, one of the Siachen Glacier’s branches in the Karakoram Mountains.

It is also referred to as “The River of Death” because it has claimed the lives of numerous men and animals that attempted to cross it. One of the nicest spots you will see in the Leh Ladakh region, the river’s sights are just beautiful.

Wanla Monastery

This gompa has ties to Lotsawa Rinchen Zangpo, is older than Alchi by more than a century, and may have been built by Kashmiri artisans during Ladakh’s pre-Tibetan period. Despite not being as well-known among tourists as Alchi and Lamayuru, it is regarded by locals as one of the most amazing sites that people from all over India travel to see.

Shang Gompa

It is situated among the magnificent vistas of Leh and Ladakh amid the snow-covered mountains. The Shang Gompa stands for tranquilly, balance, and harmony. The monks’ recitation is a pretty captivating and soul-stirring experience here. In Leh Ladakh, it is also one of the most visited tourist destinations.

Umling La Pass

One of the most well-known routes in Leh Ladakh bike trip by girls, Umling La Pass holds the distinction of being the highest motorable road in India. Bikers frequently travel to this area outside of Ladakh’s main tourist attractions to take in the limitless views and tranquilly that this pass has to offer.

Moonland Lamayuru

On the Leh-Kargil road in Lamayuru, there is a stunning area known as Moonland. Because of the moon-like shapes of the landscapes, it is known as Moonland. It is undoubtedly one of the most stunning views to see, and if you go on a full moon night, it is the most amazing thing you will ever see.

Ladakh Market

If you enjoy shopping, you should visit the marketplaces in Ladakh where you may find unique trinkets, exquisite Tibetan jewellery, cosy wool clothing, and adorned goods like carpets and themes. You can purchase everything for yourself, your friends, and family, creating priceless memories. It’s also one of the top destinations for a family or group of friends doing a bike journey through Leh Ladakh.

Nubra Valley

Around 140 kilometres (km) from Leh, in the union territory of Ladakh, is where Nubra Valley is located. The Shyok and Nubra rivers wind through the valley, which is situated along the historic Silk Road. There are also several stunning monasteries there. Hundar in Nubra Valley is well-known for its Bactrian camel rides, which are set against a backdrop of desolate mountains.

Due to their rarity and two humps, Bactrian camels were the main mode of conveyance along the silk route. The 32-meter-tall Maitreya Buddha statue is a landmark of Diskit Monastery in Nubra Valley. In the Nubra Valley, there are numerous activities available, including ziplining and ATV rides.

Sangam

The Indus and Zanskar Rivers meet at Sangam in Ladakh. On the Leh Srinagar highway, in Nimmu, it is 35 kilometres from Leh. At this point, the two rivers may be seen independently coming together. The Zanskar River seems muddy green, in contrast to the Indus River’s bright blue appearance.

It is an amazing sight to see. The two rivers at Sangam have varying flows depending on the season. Indus River is calmer in the summer, while Zanskar River is swollen and rapid. Zanskar slows down and nearly freezes in the winter, while the flow of the Indus is even less. One of Asia’s longest rivers, the Indus has its source in Tibet. In the area of Zanskar Valley, the Zanskar River is formed.

Khardung La

Khardung La, often spelled Khardzong La, is a high mountain pass in Jammu and Kashmir’s Ladakh area close to Leh. It functions as a point of entry to Shyok and Nubra Valley. At 5602 metres above sea level, Khardung La is renowned as the highest motorable road in India. Contrary to popular assumption, Dungri La is really 5359 metres above sea level, making it India’s highest motorable road pass.

Mountain bikers, tranquilly seekers, and adventure seekers will all enjoy a break at Khardung La pass. Tourists must have an Inner Line Permit in order to enter and traverse the pass. From October through May, the Khardung La pass is closed because of persistent rain and snowfall.

Pangong Lake

Pangong Lake is the most visited tourist destination in Ladakh. It is an endorheic (landlocked) lake located at a height of 4350 metres. It stretches from India to Tibet and is also referred to as Pangong Tso.

Furthermore, it is 12 kilometres long. Pangong Lake occupies around 60% of the Tibetan Autonomous Region. The lake has the unusual characteristic of changing colours from azure to light blue to green and even grey throughout the year and even during the day!

Tourists know it as Ladakh Lake because that is where the Bollywood film “3 Idiots” was filmed. An inner line permit is needed in order to enter the captivating Pangong Lake because it is located on the Sino-Indian Actual Line of Control.

While other foreign nationals must apply for a group permission with at least 3 people in the group and a certified guide, Indian nationals can simply get individual permits. For a modest charge, the permit may be purchased at the Leh tourist information centre. Despite being salinized, the Pangong Lake freezes solidly during the winter because of its height, when the temperature swings from -5°C to 10°C.

Are you inspired to take the trip to Leh Ladakh with your near and dear ones now? But most important thing, don’t forget to pack warm clothes!

Image source: author, and Giulio_Fornasar via Getty Images, free and edited on CanvaPro

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Hansika Motwani Pre-Sold Her Wedding Video Rights To Hotstar – Should We Judge Her?

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We heard about a rather unique proposition on social media recently – the monetisation of a wedding – by transforming it into a reality TV show. Now I will admit my first reaction to this was horrified disbelief.

Image source

Selling the rights to one’s wedding to a streaming platform to create what is bound to be an intrusive invasion of something that should be private – not a very savoury idea. However, if I take my personal judgement out of the equation, my next question would be, why the hell not? After all, haven’t series like Indian Matchmaking done the same thing in a way?

“Hansika’s Love Shaadi Drama – Hotstar Special Streaming from 10th February”

Disclaimer – I have woefully inadequate knowledge of reality TV, because my eyes cross in incomprehension each time I try to sit through a single episode of Bigg Boss. That said, Hansika’s Love Shaadi Drama seems to have all the ingredients for a good reality TV show: the tears, drama, conflict, love, spectacle…I’m not too sure what else.

The predictable reaction

Pure cringe. These guys do anything for money, says this tweet.

This is a common reaction from the content-consuming mango people. The very people who will perhaps avidly watch the series disapprove of the ‘money-grubbing’ ways of ‘these celebrities’.

It is common practice for celebrities to sell exclusive rights to their wedding, new baby etc. to publications. This only caters to the insatiable demand for any scrap of celebrity news after all. If a celebrity chooses to monetise this, should we really be sitting in judgement?

There is a great deal of disapproval from people who believe that a marriage should be a private affair – but we have to ask ourselves, is it? Marriages in India claim to be between two families, not two people, in the event everyone in both extended families seems to have their two bits to say about the proceedings.

This show seems to take it all a step – or several steps further. That’s just geography, as Julia Roberts memorably said in Pretty Woman.

Judgement much?

I don’t speak the language, but I do get the gist of this here tweet. There is judgement about the rather unseemly personal gossip that was bandied around about Motwani and her new husband.

There is some history there. There was a best friend and there was an extramarital affair according to the gossip mills. Perhaps there was, and if so a woman was wronged. In my limited understanding, if this involved consenting adults, I am no one to disapprove, even though the injured party may have all my sympathy.

Hotstar Specials – Hansika’s Love Shaadi Drama Hindi Teaser (Streaming Feb 10)

Motwani is predominantly a Tamil and Telugu movie star. As such the series will be available in English, Hindi and presumably in other languages.

Now some may question the characterisation of this story as one of ‘True Love’. Others may disapprove of the monetisation of something like a wedding and yet others will judge everyone involved based on the gossip.

Maybe let’s look at why we blame women more?

But let’s take a moment to assess this dispassionately and objectively.

This is a very successful woman (Forbes named her in a celebrity list). Her every move is examined, analysed, judged and pontificated upon. She couldn’t have a private wedding if she tried. If she decided to let it all hang out – and make some money in the process, why should anyone mind?

Me, I wouldn’t watch the series if I was dying of boredom, but that’s just me. However, if Hansika Motwani doesn’t mind the cameras, and if there’s an audience out there for Hansika’s Love Shaadi Drama, I would say it’s a sound business decision.

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5 Months After Acid Attack By Uncle, Another Teen Girl Dies!

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A 14-year-old girl from Nellore succumbed to her injuries five months after her uncle attacked her with acid and a knife. This unfortunate news comes after a brave, lengthy battle fought by the girl and her parents. It is a humbling reminder of the reality for women and young girls in India.

We are as unsafe with our family as we are with complete strangers, and often times, more so.

Acid attack on girl by maternal uncle

In September 2022, the uncle, a close relative of the family, entered the house after the girl’s parents had left for work with an intent to steal money and jewellery. Neighbours claimed that he had been making similar rounds in the past 10 days. The victim had taken a sick leave from school and happened to be at home on the day of the intended robbery.

The uncle, reportedly in a drunken state, tried to rape her, but the girl bravely defended herself. Enraged by her resistance, the 31-year-old attacked her with acid and slit her throat, stole ₹4000 cash and gold ornaments from the house and then left, assuming his niece to be dead.

However, upon regaining consciousness, the girl sought help from neighbours, who immediately contacted her father.

Hospitalized for 5 months

The victim was undergoing treatment in a private hospital in Nellore and was later shifted to a private hospital in Chennai for special treatment.

The state government took cognizance of the grievous event and granted Rs 5 lakh to family members of the victim to bear medical costs. While this was a good initiative, it seemed to be too little, too late.

The accused was also taken into police custody within a few hours after the incident was reported and was booked under as many relevant charges, but these measures were remedial as well. Especially from the perspective of the little 9th standard girl who had already sustained the trauma of sexual abuse as well as the acid and knife attack that could have lasted a lifetime if she hadn’t lost her life.

It must be considered how many aspects count when considering the degree of trauma inflicted by a perpetrator.

Are women and young girls safe at home?

It has been reported that 50% of child abuse instances are perpetrated by persons known to the child or in a position of trust and responsibility.

This means that change needs to start at home. By cutting off the many, countless, aggressive male relatives who are allowed to be part of family gatherings.

In front of whom, girls who are instructed to cover up, ignore sexist and uncomfortable remarks. Relatives who touch us without our consent or force us to do something we’d rather not.

Cut off ties with the predator relative

No blood tie is more important than a child, and cutting off a relative who could possibly harm our child is better than cutting off a relative that has. For all Indian girls that have been forced to put up with family members who do not respect our boundaries, it is important to remember that our gut instincts exist to protect us.

For the parents, I would encourage all those reading to believe your children and to believe your instincts when it comes to a relative. The law is essential to curb predatory behaviour and there are many governmental and non-governmental organizations and helplines that combat women and child sexual abuse but us as a society first, we need to discourage and shut out persons, family or not, to protect our families.

Image source: VioNet Via Getty Images, Free and Edited On CanvaPro

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Supposedly Feminist Film Raangi Is Worse Than Drishyam In Misogyny!

When I heard about the release of the Tamil film ‘Raangi’ in December 2022, I had high hopes for it. It seemed like a bold woman-centered story. I thought Raangi would set a record amongst the typical movies where the heroine is just there for the glitz and glam.

But when I watched the movie, I realized I was majorly wrong. This supposedly feminist film is actually fake feminism and misogyny!

The movie starts fine and shows the main character Thayyal Nayaki (played by Thrisha), a journalist. She says ‘true’ journalism is to make a difference by covering real problems. It is correct because the news and media play a meaningful role in our lives.

She records a police officer making obscene comments at her and posting them on her company site. All this was bearable. I got the picture of real journalism like in the Tamil movie ‘Ko’ but by a woman lead. I assumed it would be interesting to watch.

But things go downhill when Thayyal’s brother speaks to her about how a man threatens to leak his daughter’s (Sushmita) nudes to the internet.

Peak victim blaming!

Sushmita’s mom goes to hit her with a broomstick in her hand when she gets to know but is stopped by her dad. I thought the father was a bit sensible, but he says, “She is only sixteen, I don’t know what to ask her. I don’t know if I should scold or hit her.”

For a “feminist” story, that was a horrible red flag right there!

The parents didn’t bother to speak maturely to their daughter about anything. They assume it’s their daughter in the video. Even if it was her, instead of being there for their daughter, they directly go to blame her. A classic case of victim blaming.

Sadly, victim blaming starts with people close to us in our society.

Thayyal digs deeper and finds that Sushmita’s friend (Neha) created a Facebook account under her name. Neha sends her nudes (without her face) posing as Sushmita to creepy men to get them to talk to her because she feels insecure about her looks, particularly her teeth.

How Thayyal conducts her so-called investigation horrified me the most. She forces crying Sushmita to strip naked while checking whether it’s her body in the video. When Sushmita asks why, Thayyal responds, “It’s all for your good.”

No concept of consent, despite posing as a feminist film

At this point, I knew I should write about this movie, definitely not in a good light.

Most importantly, Sushmita never knows what is happening throughout the movie. She doesn’t know about Neha’s fake account. No one tells her about anything till the end. But despite that, Thayyal was portrayed as a role model to her niece and sister-in-law.

For all those thinking, it’s good no one revealed anything to her to not scar her. But what about yelling at a girl to undress? Even if she knew why did she “have to”? It is as though the “right to privacy” and consent is never a thing.

While speaking to Neha, Thayyal says that inner beauty matters. But within a blink of an eye, she objectifies Neha saying, “I saw your video. You are beautiful.”

She continues by saying, “Study well, earn, and become rich to ‘change’ your appearance.” When Neha says she has financial struggles, Thayyal pays for braces. Aww, such a helpless act. So much for liking yourself just how you are, yeah?

To make it worse, the dentist explains to Neha that “pain will make her attractive”. Do you think these messages are appropriate for young, impressionable girls?

And how did our fearless heroine find out it was Neha’s videos they were in the first place? By calling Sushmita’s friends to meet her and pretending to hug them! To touch and search for a birthmark. Inappropriate, much?

If you think the story took an absurd turn, it gets even crazier.

Horrific handling of the situation, worse than in Drishyam!

Thayyal lures creepy and horny men who text Neha on the Facebook account by calling them all to a hotel room and beating them. If only justice for a woman was so easy in real life.

And then comes the “real” plot twist. A guy named Aalim texts the account. Thayyal thinks he is another creep, but he is a seventeen-year-old terrorist in Tunisia. The boy is madly in love with Sushmita. Or, who he thinks is Sushmita from the account.

Thayyal starts slowly “falling in love” with the terrorists. I honestly don’t know whether to call it love. It seems so bizarre that she impersonates her niece to pursue somewhat of a relationship with Aalim.

She likes how Aalim is a genuine “guy”. But let’s face it, Aalim is seventeen. And Thayyal, I assume, is more than thirty? She even clicks Sushmita’s pictures to send to Aalim or upload on her profile, which even Sushmita doesn’t know still exists.

It is wrong for a man to send obscene DMs to a teen. But it’s fascinating how the movie justifies Thayyal creepily “using” her niece’s persona to continue chatting with Aalim.

She blatantly uses Sushmita’s identity and address to expose information about Aalim’s terrorist activities. And never once she says anything to Sushmita or her family. She continues talking to him in the pretense of capturing a criminal as a journalist, but she likes him. Or the idea of a man like him. But I can’t digest the fact because it is a teen underage boy.

Thayyal also acts like a jealous teen when she says to Sushmita, “Not bad, you ARE beautiful.”

It seemed like a terrible catfish situation where Thayyal used Aalim’s emotions to gather information whilst falling in love with him. After a lot of typical drama, Aalim ends up dying to save Sushmita and the movie thankfully ends. Even then, Sushmita naively asks who Aalim was and Thayyal weeps without responding. It’s strange how she is kept in the dark throughout.

I know a bit about feminism. I know it’s definitely not this. A Royal Enfield bike, shirts, pants, cooling glasses, and hitting rowdies/men are just not it. Thayyal lectures about how men disgustingly lust for underage women, but she catfishes a minor boy. The story also pits Sushmita’s mom against Thayyal because they were in-laws. As though a lady could never have an amicable relationship with her sister-in-law.

All in all, Raangi ruins a lot of hard work done by people who strive to create awareness of women’s rights by promoting an inconsistent gutsy, yet heartless version of a role model.

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Union Budget 2023: Women’s Welfare Is Mere Lip Service

The Union budget 2023 was tabled yesterday in the parliament and as always seems to have ignored the margins – women and children and the margins within these margins: Dalit women and children, tribal women and children, women and children with disabilities, Queer women and the reproductive and mental health challenges of these groups.

Gender inequality remains one of the most acute roadblocks to the country’s overall development, and yet the nuanced approach and gender budgeting it needs sadly seems to be missing in the current budget too.

What is gender budgeting and why is it needed

In India, gender budgeting was first introduced in 2001. Two years later, the Central Government suggested that all ministries and departments must include a specific section on gender issues in all their annual reports.

Gender budgeting, simply put, is a tool aimed at achieving gender mainstreaming in order to ensure that women receive the benefits of development equally. Now, the government publishes an annual Gender Budget Statement (GBS) with the Union Budget every year.

GBS allows ministries and/or departments to review their programs and schemes from a gender perspective, and as a result present information on allocations specific for women.

The Ministry of Women & Child Development defines it as “an ongoing process of keeping a gender perspective in policy/programme formulation, its implementation and review”.

Unfortunately, there are no children specific budgeting as they are considered to be financially dependents on adults or the state.

Covid-19 and gender budgeting

It has been reiterated now by several research papers and articles that socially and financially the worse affected group in the pandemic were women. Unfortunately, post-pandemic gender budgeting stands no different than the form it was in earlier – deficit. Covid-19 affected women worse than men due to economic distress, increased social discrimination, rising human rights violations, and lack of correct information.

The current budget also fails to acknowledge that millions of girls were literally pushed out of the education system due to the digital gap during the lockdowns and how the right to education for all has suffered where the large number of worse sufferers would be girls and women.

Lekha Chakraborty in her paper titled “Covid-19 and Gender Budgeting: Applying a “gender lens” to Union Budget in India” states that the overall gender budgeting constitutes only around 5% of the total budget and has surprisingly not risen even by a margin and has remained almost constant since 2005-06.

The fate of government schemes for “empowerment”

In 2021 a Parliamentary Committee on Empowerment of Women made shocking revelations that a major part of the funds almost 80% of the ambitious scheme “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” were used only for advertisements.

Chakraborty’s paper mentioned above also highlights that other ambitious funds, like the Nirbhaya fund that was set up a decade ago in 2013 with the aim of implementation of initiatives aimed at enhancing the safety and security for women in the country, unfortunately remains largely unused or misused.

The fund proposes to improve women’s security in large cities through surveillance, crime-mapping, smart lighting and better access to law enforcement. But other key components such as community outreach, sanitation facilities for women, safe public spaces for women, improving accessibility of services for women with disabilities has literally no specific resource distribution.

Thus, a lot of big schemes remain only lip service and don’t achieve what they were aimed at even after a decade.

Women’s welfare is mere lip service in the budget, here’s why

“Women’s welfare” is still largely steeped in gender clichés like maternity and child care support schemes, preventing violence against women, or monetary investment or benefits directly/indirectly linked to money for marriage of girls and women.

Like the latest proposal for the ‘Mahila Samman Saving Certificate’ in the Union Budget 2023 with a fixed interest rate of 7.5 per cent for two years, without probably mapping how many girls or women even have the money to invest!

There are no allocations to create jobs for women, facilitate women run businesses and companies, or create safer and more conducive workplace environments for women by creating facilities such as child care support in workplaces, provisions for menstruation leave and special provisions for working women with disabilities. Areas like digital literacy and skill training for women gets no attentions from the finance minister.

Mental health which comes under the larger umbrella of health budget often gets minimal allocations as has been the case this time too, and in mental health institutions as well as mental health support women remain the most underprivileged lot.

A few other allocations like reduced allocation for the Minority Affairs Ministry as compared with the last fiscal affects the women of the minority communities much worse than it affects the men. There is also severe lack of gender disaggregated data in order to determine who is ultimately benefitting from government schemes meant primarily for women.

Way forward

Women make up half the population, and with children counted under the same umbrella, an even bigger percentage of our considerable population.

It is sad that even today in 2023 our budget seems to lack innovative thinking when it comes to making it more women-friendly. The way forward would be focus on issues like micro-credit for women, incentives for entrepreneurship among women, recognizing the other intersections like caste and disability when making economic policies for women is crucial.

Women can no longer be seen only as the birth givers, caregivers and passive dependent citizens; a contemporary budget needs to evaluate them as equal stakeholders in the economy and policymaking.

Image source: Screengrab from DD News, edited on CanvaPro

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5 Writing Tools Every Freelancer Should Use

Posted: February 2, 2023

Are you a writer looking for apps to make your writing journey easier? Here are 5 writing tools you should use!

Writers from various fields of technology, social sciences, medicine, advertising, and law hear content is the king. If you can string your sentences and present your message to your audience with clarity; that is half the battle won.

The golden rule of writing that my teacher taught me; if your content is well written, you have your reader’s attention.

Writing is passion for few and bread-butter to others, yet the goal of every writer’s goal is to write well, and write without mistakes. In the age of constant content churning, many a time, because of deadlines, demands and workload our writing can suffer at hand of typos, grammatical error, misplaced punctuation and lack of standardization.

The 5 writing tools that freelancers need!

If you are a freelance writer, you are always working and moving from one project to another, which can leave you with limited time for revision and correction.

To err is human and if you write there will be mistakes! Yes, mistakes are part of this career! In this article, we created a list of five writing tools that will make your life easier!

Evernote

If you are working as content writer, who needs to take a lot of notes and do multimedia research, Evernote is the app you need in your device. You can capture anything and save documents as part of your notes!

And you create personalized folders and keep all together. The most convenient part of the app for me is the superfast search, which brings me the best results and saves me from hours of doom scrolling!

There is a paid and unpaid version of the app, if you are someone who is into extensive research, the paid version is an ideal investment for you.

LibreOffice

Sometimes, Microsoft Office can be difficult! Especially for me, for a long time not having an easy way to type my em-dash spoiled my impression of it. That’s when I had turned to LibreOffice, which is a free and open-source office productivity software suite, and is compatible and syncs across many devices

The software is also available in different languages as well. And if you are someone who works a lot with graphs, tables and data; this software is much easier to navigate than Microsoft Office.

Hemingway Editor

Hemingway, the author, was known for his economical use of words, if you can say something in ten words then don’t say it in fifteen. And we the editors have applied this advice throughout our careers.

If you are familiar with Grammarly, then you would find Hemingway Editor a useful app. Not only does it point out your grammatical errors, it also explains why usage of certain words or phrases are wrong. And it offers a grade based on your writing!

If you write long form, blogs or curated articles, Hemingway Editor is a better option of the two. The only issue I have is that it doesn’t have a plug-in option, and the desktop version of the app is not free.

Google Scholar

If you work in the field of academia and research, Google Scholar is a time saviour and fact-checker! And as a writer we know, misinformation is everywhere and how it can harm credibility of your writing! The existence of Google Scholar eases the research workload for a writer!

It is a free web search engine which gives you access anywhere at any time. It also creates and maintains indexes of full text or metadata of literature across an array of publishing formats and disciplines.

If you haven’t used Google Scholar yet! Use it today!

Citation Machine

For a business writer, research scholar, or a student, citation of sources, and the format of your citation becomes a headache! The app also provides plagiarism check and grammar check. The app will also maintain a database of your sources, so that you look for them and don’t have to worry about losing them!

If you subscribe to the paid version, they will also give you writing advice on how to improve and clean your paper. For students, the paid version is expensive, but if you are a writer in the above-mentioned fields, don’t hesitate to subscribe to the paid version.

Freelance writing, doesn’t always have to stress inducing process. When we are writing, our concentration should be on the creation of the clean and concise message. But if you are constantly worrying about citation, fact-checks, grammatical errors, it can hamper your quality of writing. Hence, don’t hesitate to utilize the services of these writing tools!

Image source: Instaphotos and Malinka_Bond, free and edited on CanvaPro 

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Why Is The Royal Scandal By Rrashima Swaarup Verma A Fascinating Book?

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Rrashima Swaarup Verma’s new bestselling book The Royal Scandal is a celebration of the spirit of womanhood.

A true love story. A tale of politics, treachery and war. A piece from India’s rich history. A vivid description of 18th century life in the Deccan. Yes, The Royal Scandal is all that and more. But it is also an aide-mémoire of the tremendous fortitude, the unbeatable spirit that women are, and have always been, capable of.

18th century, Hyderabad, India. A time and place when societal laws and rules came down heavy on the female gender, when zenanas separated and shielded the women from the world outside, when it was understood and accepted that the men in their lives would govern and dictate every big and small decision.

In a time and place like that, a noblewoman from the ruling family tells her young, unmarried, pregnant daughter, ‘Just because we are women does not mean that we are destined to relinquish all the decisions of our lives to the men who supposedly rule us. I have never believed that, and I hope that you never will either.’

If you ask me, those words of resilience are the best legacy, beyond and above anything else, that the mother could ever have passed on to her daughter.

Who is the protagonist?

The protagonist in the book is a beautiful and intelligent noblewoman named Khair-un-Nissa. Governed by the austere laws that were commonplace in the society she was born into, she knows the rules and has learnt to live by them.

Acceptance, however, is another matter. Oblivious even to herself, her heart and mind are much too unshackled to be constrained. Still in her teenaged years when she meets the debonair English officer James Achilles Kirkpatrick for the first time, Khair falls desperately in love.

Shaking off every uncertainty, mustering up every ounce of courage, she chooses the path that her heart has laid out for her. As they fall more deeply in love with each other, there are instances when despite being a woman, Khair displays the kind of determination and nerve that even the much older male protagonist is not able to.

Undaunted and fearless, this high-spirited young girl is as endearing as she is admirable.

How much research did go into the book?

This book needed research, intense research. While it was a remarkable process in every way, I have to admit that it was Khair-un-Nissa’s character that fascinated and astounded me in more ways than one. Such a young girl, such difficult circumstances, yet so much strength. The more I discovered about her, the more intrigued I was by the story and its outcome.

I found myself wondering and even questioning how a girl in her circumstances could have made the choices, taken the decisions she did. Wasn’t she scared of the repercussions? Didn’t she care about the consequences?

Was love so much more significant to her than her own survival?

What was it that drove her? Was it the example that her mother set for her? Was it the unconditional support that she received from the surrounding women? Was it the passion that she felt for the only man she ever loved? Or was it her own inner self, her strength of mind, that told her in no uncertain terms that she had every right to keep the reins of her own life in her hands.

A legacy of strong-willed women

Khair is one example. There are many, many plucky, strong-minded women like her in the story. Khair’s mother Sharaf-un-Nissa, her grandmother, her friend, even the famed courtesan Mah Laqa Bai Chanda. Tremendously courageous, resolutely determined, these were women who even overshadowed the surrounding men.

They took their own decisions, advised the men on equal terms, and even stood up to them when it was required. The entire story, in fact, is peppered with instances and examples of how women played a significant role in an otherwise male-dominated society.

Astute and sharp, with a deep understanding of literature, politics, music, art, war, you name it, women were as much an integral part of social and official life as their male counterparts. Despite the time and circumstances they lived in.

“The world behind the veils and the curtains was a powerful one, one that could heavily influence, sway and manipulate the one outside.”

Yes, that quote from the book nicely sums it up.  And it is another reason why The Royal Scandal has consistently been high up in the bestseller list in the “Women in History” category.

Want a copy of this book?

If you’d like to pick up The Royal Scandal written By Rrashima Swaarup, use our affiliate links at Amazon India, and at Amazon US.

Women’s Web gets a small share of every purchase you make through these links, and every little helps us continue bringing you the reads you love!

Image source: Book Cover On Amazonand author’s website, edited on CanvaPro

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