Hyderabad: Gone are the times when girl child was considered a burden on the family in India. A small push from the government and support from society, coupled with their personal resolve, has empowered several girls over the years to break the so-called glass ceiling. From acing in the world of sports to excelling academically and running a successful business, girls are finally coming out to pursue their ambitions.
However, there is no denying that gender-based discrimination exists in our society even today. To eradicate the same, the Ministry of Women and Child Development has been celebrating January 24 as the National Girl Child Day, every year since 2008. Several campaigns and programmes such as ‘Save the Girl Child’, ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’, free or subsidised education for the girl children, reservations for women in colleges and universities have been initiated since to reduce this discrimination. As the nation celebrated the 13th National Girl Child Day on Sunday, meet these girls from Telangana who have excelled in their respective fields.
— Mission Down Under: K Sankeerthana
K Sankeerthana,18, a student of Telangana Social Welfare Residential Educational Institution, is gearing up to fly out to Australia to pursue her under-graduation. First in her family to go abroad, she is excited to do her Bachelor’s from a foreign country.
Coming from an economically backward family, Sankeerthana has defied all odds to clear her intermediate examinations with flying colours. “I secured 942 out of 1000 in the Intermediate. I am planning to pursue a Bachelor of Business course, at the University of Wollongong. I want to become a Chartered Accountant.”
Sankeerthana’s father is a small farmer in Karimnagar, while her mother is a housewife. “My family was very supportive of my dreams. A few years back, our financial condition was very bad, in fact, my father had several loans on his head. Despite all the problems, he never let that affect my studies.” “Once I become something, I want to give my parents a luxurious life. They have done a lot for me. Along with that, I also want to do something for society,” she added.
— Olympic Dreams: Shrivalli Rashmikaa Bhamidipaty
She is just 19-years-old but is already on her way to make it big in the world of sports. Shrivalli Rashmikaa from Hyderabad is the current Junior National Champion (both Hard Court and Clay Court).
The 19-year-old has been playing tennis since 2001 — when she was only 10. “I used to go to LB Stadium just to watch other kids play and that inspired me to pick up the tennis racket,” says Rashmikaa. “I feel that I am very lucky. My parents, coaches and teachers have been very supportive of my dreams.”
She thinks there has been a surge in the number of students opting for professional sports training, especially badminton, following PV Sindhu winning a silver medal for India at the Rio Olympics. “I want to pursue tennis as my career and represent India at the Olympics one day,” she adds.
— For the women, by a woman: Vishala Reddy Vuyyala
Several people think that farming is a male-dominated profession. Whereas, the truth is that women are equally involved in the process. To support the women in the farming community, city-based Entrepreneur Vishala Reddy Vuyyala, founded Millet Bank. She has engaged over 50 female farmers in the project since and is looking to initiate at least 250 more by June 2021.
Vishala shares that women often end up doing more work than men in a farming family. “I come from a farming family. I have seen how hard the women work in these communities. All their work is done without any reward, money or appreciation.”
Having seen the struggles of the women in the rural sector, Vishala wanted to do something to ensure a respectable income for these women. However, her journey from being a village girl to heading a start-up has now been easy.
“I moved to Hyderabad when I was 24-years-old, and it was really difficult for me to understand the culture of a metropolitan city. The language was a huge barrier too — I wasn’t fluent in English. It took me some time, but I overcame them slowly.” But troubles only made Vishala stronger. “My only advice to young girls is that no matter what happens, have faith in yourself, and half your battle is already won.”
— Weighty dreams: Erra Deexitha
Sports, such as weightlifting and bodybuilding, have been associated only with men for decades. However, slowly, but surely, several women are breaking this stereotype. Erra Deexitha — current Senior National Champion in the 59-kg weight class category — is breaking the glass ceiling hard.
The 23-year-old began her career in weightlifting in 2006 after she took admission in State’s sports school. Her father worked in the State Electricity Department and her mother is a housewife. “My uncle helped me get admission here. Since then, I have been onto weightlifting. My coaches SA Singh and P Manikayala Rao are very supportive and have trained me well,” she says.
Coming from a humble background in Warangal, Deexitha struggled financially when she first started weightlifting. However, her hard work not only got her several medals but also a job with the Indian Railways. Unfortunately, Deexitha lost her father in August 2020. “It was a tough time for the family. But one has to move on. So, I started training again in September. I am going to take part in the upcoming selections for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.”
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