“To all the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful, and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.”
-Hillary Clinton

Gone are the days when women were not placed at the forefront. It is the era of empowerment of everyone who is worthy, beyond their gender. The concept of education and empowerment go hand in hand because education is the first empowerment of a child. It is path-breaking and really motivating to see the Kashmiri girl child reach the ramparts of an educational institution. This enables them to gain knowledge and become valuable members of the society. The girl child in Kashmir has seen different eras, that can be traced as various milestones in their journey of social evolution.

I had the proud opportunity of visiting a local girls school in the region and interacting with the young girls first-hand. There are notions that we form on the basis of hearsay and then, there are notions that are formulated on the basis of experience and research. On the basis of my minimal first-hand experience, I observed a strong shift in the outlook of both the people and the girls themselves strictly in terms of education. The girls that I interacted with, were brimming with enthusiasm, in the process of becoming future ready, gearing up by studying really well and confident as individuals as they graced the stage. Their grooming was at power with a girl child in any other part of the nation.

The government has also initiated schemes for the welfare of the girl child in the valley. On the streets of Kashmir in the remotest of areas, young girls can be seen walking to schools with their bags on, towards a better future at the larger level. Women have also ventured into business, politics, research, academia, sports, law, the military forces etc. The enthusiasm of girls on seeing a fellow lady wearing the uniform is reflective of a lot of hope, aspiration and will that these young girls are brewing within themselves. They are becoming future ready with all that’s accessible to them.

I have also had the opportunity of interacting with young women entrepreneurs from Kashmir, the ones who are promoting the local art forms and the artisans. These women have a presence of the internet and receive orders from all across the country. They are running their business from their households and doing the best of their capabilities to earn a living for themselves along with promoting and preserving the local art.

The girl child in the valley has seen multifarious phases in their being. Repetitive unrest, lack of opportunities, restrictions to finally seeing and paving a way for themselves in all the domains, these young girls have proved their mettle as we see a significant change in the social fabric of the valley. The change is slow yet consistent and that’s the biggest power of change. The girl child is Kashmir is going through not just a change, but an evolution and that sure shall take a while but it’s consistent and that’s the best past about it.

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