The occasion to celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child had the august presence of sports girls who have made ‘Mother India’ proud. And sporting them was one of India’s biggest sports ambassadors Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar.
Sachin took the centre stage with the achievers like Indian Women’s cricket team captain Mitali Raj, former captain Indian women’s National Basketball Team, Raspreet Sidhu, Special Olympics athlete, Ragini Sharma, Karate champion, Mana Mandlekar and International para swimmer and BBBP Champion from Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, Rajni Jha for a panel discussion on The Role of Sports in the Empowerment of Girls.
The event was hosted by the Ministry of Women and Child Development and UNICEF, represented in the discussion by its goodwill ambassador Sachin.
The Bharat Ratna cricketer emphasized that “parents and communities must see their daughters as assets – as individuals capable of standing on their feet and contributing to society, and not as burdens to be married in haste. This requires us to invest in daughters, as the Government of India is doing.
“We have to ease the financial burden on parents so that girls complete their education and take steps to fulfill their potential in their society and achieve their aspirations. We must address the concerns of parents, engage with them in making change possible. Child marriage and other social pressures hampers a child’s growth. I stand to SAY NO to Child Marriage and make a better world for our girls”.
The elite gathering of women achievers, the star sportsperson also shared their experiences and vision on women empowerment and betterment of girl child.
“As a sportsperson, I believe gender doesn’t matter,” Mithali Raj said. “Each and every child should participate in sports, as it encourages teamwork, builds mental strength, keeps children healthy, and makes them confident to deal with life challenges.”
“Irrespective of their gender, a sportsperson can overcome social, physical, and societal obstacles. I applaud the Government’s ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ program, which is bringing about a mindset change across India in how we can collectively ensure that the girl child survives and is given equal opportunity to flourish in every sphere of life,” said Ragini Sharma, Olympian para-athlete.
Rashmi Jha, International para-swimmer lauded the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao programme of the Government and said that “Achieving equality for girls and boys, women and men, starts from our own homes and lives. An enabling and supportive environment at home, school, college can go a long way in dismantling barriers for girls and encourage more girls to take up sports and move towards gender equality.”