Indian women show indomitable power

Indian women show indomitable power

by The Daily Eye Team September 25 2014, 5:59 am Estimated Reading Time: 1 min, 27 secs

I visit India about once a year. The reason I come so regularly is that the foundation I started with my husband, Bill, works with Indian partners to help advance the country’s development. The Gates Foundation is based on the belief that every human being deserves the chance to lead a healthy, productive life. When Bill and I worked in information technology, we saw brilliant innovations that benefitted people whose lives were already good. So we decided to devote our resources and the rest of our lives to investing in innovations that help the poor, including India’s poor. Whenever I travel in a country, I like to read books that help me get to know the place and its people. One facet of India’s history that resonates with me is the way women struggled to break into the male-dominated Independence movement so they could stand against British colonialism.

Ways to reach The Independence Day just past, provided me an opportunity to learn about Rani Lakshmibai, Begum Hazrat Mahal, and many others. Sarojini Naidu insisted on joining the all-male Salt March to Dandi in 1930. Following her bold example, thousands of women, educated and un-educated alike, spurred on the Independence movement by marching and making their own salt to protest the British monopoly. India’s stunning victory against polio was made possible by millions of frontline workers — almost all of them women — who found ways to reach every single Indian child with the vaccine. The number of Indian children who die has gone down by 60 per cent since 1990. Why? It’s because ASHAs, ANMs, and Anganwadi workers are working together with mothers to give more children better basic care.

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