Sunday, November 28, 2010

Haryana needs women empowerment to stop female foeticide

ANI reports that Haryana Education Minister Geeta Bhukkal said that women's empowerment was needed in the State to stop female foeticide since the State's sex ratio has dipped to 808 females for every 1,000 males.The national sex ratio is 933 females for every 1,000 males."In Haryana, it is very necessary to impart the awareness about decreasing sex ratio. There are some genetic problems also and the government is very worried about this, and regarding this we celebrated Girl Day with Bhupinder Singh Hooda Haryana Chief Minister as the chief guest. We have programmes for the same and hope that there would be improvement in the scenario," said Bhukkal.The State's Chief Medical Officer V. K. Govila said they have cracked down on clinics offering the service of pre-natal sex determination."We are trying to revive the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act (PNTD Act), raids are being made more effective. We have also cancelled one ultrasound centre and have given notices to two other centers. We have debarred the operator's of the ultrasound clinics," said Govila."In Rohtak, currently there are 808 girls for 1000 boys," he added

Monday, November 1, 2010

For all unborn daughters, a mom ready to dive

Interesting story from Chandigarh reported by Gajinder Singh in The Telegraph, Kolkata Edition
Archana Sardana, 38, wants to jump from Delhi’s TV tower in support of the girl child, but has not got permission yet. Three years ago, the mother of two had become one of India’s first women skydivers. 'I have approached the tourism and sports ministers and officials seeking permission to spread awareness against female foeticide through my sport. I want to jump from Delhi’s TV tower in Pitampura with the Indian flag and a message to allow girls to live,” she said.

Sardana, who took up skydiving after marrying a naval officer, said she wants to plead for an end to female foeticide in Haryana, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh, three states with a dismal sex ratio. “My vision for Indian women is to break the glass ceiling and achieve greater heights, to prove to the world that Indian women are second to none,” she said.

Born in Jammu in 1972, Sardana completed her schooling from Srinagar and graduated with science. She also has a diploma in interior design. Encouraged by her husband and in-laws, she took the adventure, basic and advanced mountaineering courses from the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Darjeeling, and the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, Uttarkashi.

“I am even prepared to skydive on the highest drop zone in the world near Mount Everest with the Indian Tricolour to prove that girls are equal to if not better than boys. I want to demolish the myth that women cannot take up extreme adventure sports because of physical reasons,” said Sardana, who is India’s only woman base jumper (those who jump from buildings, antennas, spans and cliffs). Sardana is now scouting tall structures in India to jump from to spread her message.

“I have received assurances from many quarters on my way of spreading awareness. It is very hard to get permission as there are many agencies, from the local level to even defence related ones, involved. But I am hopeful that I will emerge victorious,” she said. That permission is not easy to get is clear from her visit to a senior bureaucrat in Delhi who advised her to shelve her plans as they amounted to committing suicide.

Sardana lamented there was no scope for civilian skydivers in India. “Apart from the defence services, there are no proper training facilities available here. I have been skydiving and jumping from buildings and cliffs in the US and Malaysia because I cannot do that here on my own,” she said, adding she sold jewellery to fund some of her training and jumps in the US. On one of her trips to that country, Sardana witnessed a large number of American women jump to spread breast cancer awareness and make a record formation in the air. Her proudest moment was to skydive with the Tricolour in California’s Perris Valley last year. Sardana has completed 238 jumps and has a “C” licence from the United States Parachute Association.