Discovering Inner Journey Of Atmanirbhar Women With Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

New Delhi: Ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8, the Indian Women Press Corps had organised an interaction with the country’s first woman Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman to commemorate the occasion.

It was a significant event that allowed women journalists an opportunity to talk to one of the most powerful women in the country, share a cup of tea and partake of the banter.

For those present, it also meant much more. The event was not merely symbolic; it meant that women had some degree of control and agency over their lives and their money, it meant they had they the time and the leisure to connect with other women and forge bonds of sisterhood, it meant that like Sitharaman, they too had the power to dream and work towards achieving them.

And this is this idea of a self-reliant woman found an echo among each of us present at the interaction that day.

In our country, if we look back at the lives of women in our own families, we would realise that Sitharaman, and each one of us, represents change and transformation, denied to our mothers, grandmothers and great grandmothers.

Yet they were the ones who paved the path for us. My maternal great grandmother “chose” to go to Kashi for her final years. My grandmother, who could write poetry and play the piano, spent her life raising a family in Jamshedpur, displaced from her homeland in Mymensingh in present day Bangladesh. Yet, she sowed the seeds of independence in my mother and all her children.

This reflects a call for ‘fiscal stimulus’ for the girl child’s education and the vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat. Yes, it is time that families prioritised spending on their daughters’ education, a ‘fiscal stimulus’ to make women atmanirbhar.

Today as we commemorate International Day of Women, let us look within, at our own journeys and remember the women who helped us reach this point in our lives.

(Soumi Das is a teacher and independent writer based in New Delhi)

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