The sister act - women in powerful positions vulnerable & need support: Kangana, Shaina NC
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And at a recent philanthropy conference in the national Capital, three powerful ladies from different industries - actress Kangana Ranaut, fashion designer Shaina NC and the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) Chairperson Swati Maliwal - got together to discuss violence against women and ways to tackle them.
Ranaut, who has essayed some powerful roles on screen, was one of the first to speak as she emphasised that it is up to every family to not normalise 'wrong behaviour' against women.
"We cannot expect the world to be fair. Feminism is an idea that the society needs to agree on," the 31-year-old National Award winner said at the Alibaba Foundation's 'Xin Philanthropy Conference' in New Delhi.
Ranaut, who has been vocal about her thoughts on power-play and gender politics in Bollywood, recalled that she was considered the black sheep in her ‘patriarchal’ family for choosing a non-conventional career option. And juggling the role of a daughter and a gender advocate at the same time can be ‘tricky’, she added.
And while multitasking is a skill that women are considered adept at, that alone can’t empower them, feels fashion designer Shaina. The 45-year-old designer-turned-politician, who is seen defending the Bhartiya Janata Party on prime-time TV, emphasised that education was the only way forward.
"Education is the best way to empower women. Being financially and economically secure gives them certain sense of power and understanding," she said.
However, she cautioned that women in positions of power often end up as becoming vulnerable, and hence solidarity from one’s own tribe is essential.
"The role of women in public space is essential, and it is also important for other women to empower their counterparts,” she said.
And while women are empowered, it is also essential to instill the fear of the law in the minds of wrongdoers, and prevent sexual crimes against women in India, said Maliwal.
"The main problem begins when there is no fear of punishment. We need swiftness of punishment, implementation of law and more fast-track courts to make this country - where rape is the fourth most common crime - a safer place for women," Maliwal, the youngest-ever chief of the DCW, said.
Ranaut, while agreeing with Maliwal, pointed out that the difference in parental attitudes also played a role. "In India, a woman's upbringing is different from her brother's. This is one of the reasons she never protests if anything wrong happens to her. A woman can never know what's unfair unless she has seen it," the ‘Queen’ star said
And while families adjust to changing social mores and attitudes, the trio of powerful women agreed that women themselves need to speak up for their rights. And continue to encourage every other woman in the spirit of sisterhood.