The Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi said that the campaign attempts to improve the status of women both socially and economically. “Until we empower women, and put them at par with men, we cannot fully realize the potential of our workforce,” she said.
The campaign invited people on social media to share their thoughts on the question, “Do you think you are equal?” and post it using the hashtag #WeAreEqual. The campaign continues to get a thumping response, with commoners, changemakers and celebrities tweeting and posting their thoughts online.
The latest to join the movement is Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan, who on Thursday tweeted a photo of him holding a placard that reads, “When I die, the assets I shall leave behind, shall be shared equally between my daughter and my son.”
The campaign which is open to all, reached out to urban crowds through social media accounts and to the rural masses through anganwadi workers. The message above is from anganwadi workers’ team in Bhopal.
Earlier, actor-producer Dia Mirza, boxing champion Mary Kom, wrestler Sangram Singh, Scientist-Engineer Minal Rohit and men and women from various walks of lives debunked patriarchal norms and took a stand against gender typecasting.
Talking about the campaign, Ms Gandhi, said, “#WeAreEqual is a movement about something I strongly believe in, and which is a pre-requisite for social and economic development of our nation. We aim to align with the youth of the country in bringing about a change of mindset through social media.”
“If a good practice becomes popular because of us running a movement on social media, we would have achieved our objective,” she added.
“We are overwhelmed by the positive response received from both women and men, with over 3,000 tweets and re-tweets so far. We have successfully reached out to nearly 27 lakh social media users in less than 2 weeks,”said Manoj Arora, Private Secretary (PS) to the Union Minister Maneka Gandhi told NDTV.
“Several celebrities have also extended their support for the campaign. Human rights organisations, working in the field of women and children, have also partnered with us to encourage users,” he added.
What’s interesting about the campaign is that a lot of men have come forward and shared their views openly. The placards held by young men question why women cannot hang out with male friends after marriage, admit that women are better drivers, acknowledge that they help their wives, sisters and mothers in domestic chores – be it taking care of the babies or cooking at home.
“Don’t worship a goddess if you can’t respect a woman,” reads a placard held by a man, the other reads “I help my wife with domestic tasks equally,” clearly indicating how mindsets are changing with times and the society is moving towards gender neutrality.
Women also have some interesting nuggets to share. They talk about their abilities to fight off miscreants, being good at navigating ways and travelling alone and how they can, not just play with soft toys but software too.
One of the placard held by a woman reads, “The length of my hair does not decide my feminity”, the other says, “I can speak up today because I was not silenced yesterday.”
With still five days remaining for the International Women’s Day, the message numbers are only likely to grow. You too can participate and make your thought count by tagging the social handles @MinistryWCD and @Manekagandhibjp on Twitter and Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India on Facebook.