Today, on the occasion of International Girl Child Day, students and teachers of Jesus and Mary College (JMC) held a candlelight vigil at Connaught Place’s busy inner circle. The peaceful candlelight vigil began at 6:00 pm at C-Block in Connaught Place and culminated in poetry and speeches. The candlelight vigil was organized by the college’s Women’s Study Centre (WSC) and the college’s Gender Champions, as part of a public campaign to speak out against the myriad forms of discrimination and exploitation the average girl child and woman face in the 21st century.
Recurrent issues in JMC students’ poems, speeches and pledge, were issues of violence, hunger, lack of education, trafficking, forced labour, and various other forms of exploitation that scores of girl children face in India as well as many other parts of the world. The students appealed to the public to also take their pledge and to pay attention to the messages on their placards and in their poems. Speaking at the event, the JMC WSC President, Absy Sam, stated that the purpose of the candlelight vigil was to use express concern about gender inequality by being visible in public places and resorting to actions that compelled the larger public to introspect. The WSC staff advisor, Dr Maya John, explained that women with greater access to education and opportunities should come out in criticism of patriarchal societal norms and skewed state policies that nurture greater vulnerability for the girl child. With regard to skewed state policies, she pointed out the problem of growing budget cuts in the ICDS, in education, health and larger welfare programs.