“One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.”
-Abraham Maslow

Be it NCC, NDA, OTA or IMA, the Indian defence institutions are famed worldwide for the quality of trained (wo)men they produce. With the aim of involving the youth to create an organised and trained Human Resource, the National Cadet Corps was raised in 1948 at the school and university levels.
The National Cadet Corps is the youth wing of the Indian military which gives basic military training to girls and boys. I am an NCC cadet myself and my journey till now has been quite an adventure. The uniform had always appealed to me and I wanted to earn the name plate since I was a kid.
I got myself enrolled into Miranda House, University of Delhi majorly to be a part of its NCC Company. The reputation and legacy it holds is coveted. I came in as a shy cadet but the past 1.5 years of rigorous training and exertion has transformed me into a confident and self reliant woman. The process is physically and mentally very challenging but the toil has been worth it.
The female cadets are trained at par with their male counterparts and are given opportunities, be it marching proudly on the Rajpath or receiving training in firing arms.It has only made me stronger and more resilient in the face of life’s challenges. We, in NCC, have mastered the art of accomplishing what others consider impossible. Following one of the DG’s four cardinal principles, we’ve learned to work hard without making any fuss. NCC is a second family to me, a home away from home.
We strive to live up to the name of ATHENAS and act wisely in all aspects of life, and the experiences I’ve gathered during my time prepare me for the aspirations and goals I have.

Writing With Fire—Recognising Local Journalism

Amidst the fanfare of the bigger multi-million dollar productions, an indigenous entry in the Oscars 2022 shortlist remains unnoticed. Writing With Fire, an Indian documentary film about the newspaper Khabar Lahariya, made it to the Oscars 2022 shortlist. The documentary focuses mostly on accounts from rural India’s most underserved areas.
Khabar Lahariya is India’s only feminist grassroots news network, written, edited, produced, delivered, and sold solely by rural women from underprivileged communities. These female journalists travel to the most remote corners of India’s interior to report on local news and social concerns from a feminist perspective.
It publishes ordinary stories of ordinary people in areas that are completely out of the spotlight of media attention. The major goal, according to Kavita Devi, the co-founder, was to create an all-women news platform that would generate employment among the underserved. In 13 districts of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, roughly 20 women are now members of the reporting team.
By virtue of its existence and hard core investigative journalism, Khabar Lahariya seeks to reshape the mediascapes socio-economic and cultural landscape.
It’s time we acknowledge and promote such works that familiarise us with the ground realities. News networks like these, among many other such, have been successful in lifting the status of these women’s lives and training them to earn a living while also bringing the voices of the unheard into the forefront.

‘Back to Work’ Policy to be a significant step in empowering women

Women are super humans! They efficiently juggle between raising children, domestic duties, earning bread, and manage to do it all effortlessly. We witness women rising to top offices—take Leela Nair as CHRO of ULE and Geeta Gopinath as Chief Economist of the IMF examples—and also becoming the sarpanch in village panchayats.
Although, the potential in the middle rung still remains latent. It has long been an obligation for women to give up their dreams in the interests of their families. And it should come as no surprise to the reader that half of our population does not get ample representation in the working force. The Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) 2019-20 finds out that the proportion of women in the overall labour force has dropped down to a meagre 20.7%.

In a bid to counter this disproportion, Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot recently announced the launch of a ‘Back to Work’ scheme on 30 November, during the discussion on the Finance and Appropriation Bill for the Budget 2021-22.
The policy attempts to bring back into the workforce the women who have had to quit their jobs in the past due to personal or family obligations. A three-year target of providing 15,000 regular/work-from-home jobs with the assistance of the private sector has been set, wherein priority will be accorded to women who have been abandoned,widowed, divorced or subjected to violence. Additionally, skill training will also be provided through Rajasthan Knowledge Corporation Limited (RKCL) to make them more employable.
Recently, Tata Consultancy Services also grabbed the headlines with its recent launch of a recruitment drive to hire more women professionals, followed by other IT majors like Wipro, Infosys and HCL.
The participation of women in urban areas is still encouraging, but overall participation is far from desirable. This policy raises the prospect of bolstering the financial status of vulnerable women and children. More women employees are not only good for gender equality, but they also create stronger national economies.
Besides, more participation of women in the workforce would help India achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 1 on ending poverty, SDG 5 on achieving gender equality, SDG 8 on ensuring economic growth and SDG 10 on reducing inequalities. More women in the workforce is a win-win situation for all.