Indian village empowering girls by naming houses after daughters

Initiative that began in 2016 in eastern Jharkhand finds takers outside state


Anadolu Agency October 11, 2021
The village has a 700 population of approximately 120 families. PHOTO: ANADOLU AGENCY/FILE

NEW DELHI:

When a remote village in India’s eastern Jharkhand started an initiative in 2016 to name houses after their daughters, they did not know it would make the village proud.

Tiring became the first tribal village in Jharkhand state where nameplates bear the names of daughters of the family. And six years later, villagers say it has successfully brought changes to the village, and outside.

As the International Day of the Girl Child is being observed on Monday, villagers said similar initiatives should be replicated in other villages to end gender discrimination.

"The aim behind this initiative was that women in the village get their identity and to increase their confidence. As India is a patriarchal society, the nameplates outside the houses are mostly of men. So, our initiative was to end that discrimination," Urmila Samad, a village-level elected official, said.

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The village has a 700 population of approximately 120 families. Initially, houses had nameplates of men but that practice has been reversed.

"Today, a woman in the village gets a lot of respect because of this. Not only a family is known by their daughter, but the village is also known by this initiative," Samad said.

According to villagers, the initiative has brought changes.

"It has benefited," Urmila said. "Initially, the villages were known by men and it has reversed now."

Because of the move, there has been growing interest in education, Samad added.

"Now the focus is on getting an education and going to college," she said. "Our is a tribal village, and now the priority is that every daughter should get an education.”

Sanjay Kumar, an administrative officer who was posted in the area and led the initiative when it began said the response has been good and the idea was widely appreciated.

He said with the initiative he advanced the “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao”, or Save the Daughter, Teach the Daughter, a campaign to improve India's child sex ratio.

"We took it a step further with the Meri Beti, Meri Pehchan (My Daughter, My Identity) campaign, launched from Tiring," he said. "This has worked in a positive way."

The initiative is now finding takers in other areas.

Last December, northern Uttarakhand state replicated the initiative in the Pauri Garhwal district and named houses after daughters. The naming of daughters was a part of a plan to create awareness about "gender rights and property ownership among women and their families," according to officials.

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