Deepika Pallikal has taken the bold step of opting out of the National Squash Championship to mark her protest against the unfair prize allocation to the women’s winner. As per updates, the men’s champion would win a prize of Rs 1,20,000 whereas the women’s champion would win only Rs 50,000.
Deepika’s fight is not about the money alone but a bigger question of equality for women sportspersons. In a day and age when women are not just competing with men but also outshining them in many spheres, the Squash Federation’s unfair prize allocation reeks of a parochial and sexist mindset.
Deepika is not just any player but India’s top ranked women’s squash player, the world’s 18th ranked women’s squash player and a former national champion.
We salute Deepika for taking a rightful stand and hope that sports bodies across the country will appreciate and recognise that women sportspersons deserve the same treatment as men.
How many women can say that they do not fear stepping out at night, even with a companion or in their vehicles? The number is negligible. Not only during late hours but even in broad daylight women have a sense of fear in them – a fear of harassment or molestation and a fear of being stalked.
This happens despite us coming a long way since our first steps on this planet. We currently inhabit a world that is much more open to women’s participation in social, economic and political spheres. More women are breaking household shackles and taking the route of a corporate lifestyle. More women are stepping out of their houses to work, to drive cars and bikes, to go for a nice dinner with their other female friends.
However, a lot is yet to be achieved. Women are still in harm’s ways, especially on roads. It is no secret that there are more male drivers than their female counterparts? Is driving a car or riding a scooter something women cannot do? No. The reason for the low number is our society’s attitudes toward female drivers and women’s fear of harassment or being stalked on roads.
Even after 70 years of independence, Indian women are yet to enjoy real freedom on roads. Crime against women has doubled in the last decade.
To ensure their safety, women have taken the course of self-defence. What can be done when a woman riding a scooter is whistled at or followed back home? More often than not, they carry with themselves small items of safety like – swiss knives, pepper or chilli sprays. But what happens if they forget to keep the pepper spray in their bag? Or when a harasser comes, they have to waste time scavenging through their bag to find the small bottle buried deep inside? Self-defence techniques come in handy only when they are available at easy disposal.
To ensure the safety of women riders, CEAT has come up with an innovative idea. They have integrated the grip of their scooters with pepper spray holders. This way, the spray is always at disposal and when in need, a woman doesn’t need to search through her bag.
The idea has manifold advantages. One does not need to consciously remember to put the spray in one’s bag each time before stepping out of the house. A bottle of spray is always fitted to the scooter.
#CEATSafetyGrip campaign is a unique step toward women empowerment. Its success will definitely aid thousands of women riding alone on roads.