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Teenage climate change activist Greta Thunberg, staring at now impeached US President Donald Trump, as he reached the UN Climate Summit, was one of the strongest images clicked in 2019. The young activist had got the whole world talking about the ill-impacts of climate change at another UN conclave, a few months prior to when the picture was taken. She represented a strong image of resistance and confidence, of a woman who will not bow down.
Women have been a part of many protests since the birth of civilisation but there have been a few instances of when they have led it from the forefront. Especially in South Asia, there have been very few instances of women getting onto the streets and demanding their rights. But, in the past few years, we have seen a completely different scenario. There are heartening images of women standing up for their rights and leading mass movements.
The recent example being the Shaheen Bagh protest against the CAA and NRC. A small part of the capital Delhi, Shaheen Bagh has been strong in its resistance and the women of the area, most of whom belong to the Muslim community, are spending their whole days in a small ground which crackles with songs of harmony, justice, and unity.
Their unhindered dedication to their convictions shows in their eyes. Their faith is unmoved.
And now they are teaching their kids the art of resistance, young!
Not just Shaheen Bagh, women from across the country welcomed the new year with their heads high and voices loud against what they believe is wrong. They are leading a mass movement, mobilising people online, joining them on streets, and standing tall against the atrocities.
Last year, we saw protests happening to save Aarey Forests in Mumbai, Maharashtra India where a lot of women protesters took the lead.
Women also formed a human chain last year, in Kerala, to pave way for better gender equality at religious monuments.
We saw many resilient women staying dedicated to their convictions and professions during the turmoil.
And it is just the beginning, we can see. Women in India are stepping up, breaking shackles of patriarchal norms that bind them. They are standing for what’s their right and what is right for them.