By Subhash K. Jha
Mumbai, March 8 (IANS) Bollywood star Ranbir Kapoor says his sister Riddhima had an edge over him because she is a girl and hopes every girlchild in the country is lucky enough to enjoy that kind of importance in the family. He also welcomes women's empowerment in filmdom.
"On International Women's Day I salute my mother for the values which she imbibed in my sister Riddhima and me. She taught us by example that men and women are equal. In fact, in my case I believe that Riddhima had an edge over me because she is a girl! I wish that to happen to every girlchild in India...," said Ranbir, who started his career four years ago with "Saawariya" and gave hits like "Bachna Ae Haseeno ", "Wake Up Sid" and "Raajneeti".
"I would like all parents to give their daughters an edge over their sons, to make up for all the years in our society, where girls have been treated as less then boys," he added.
Ranbir says that International Women's Day is important because it celebrates the struggle of women to get their due.
"Of course, I agree that every day should be celebrated as Women's Day but to have a symbolic day is important because it brings focus to an issue that needs attention. In the film industry too things are changing.
"Todays heroines are far more free to lead the lives they wish to. Marriage and kids do not stop a Kajol or a Madhuri Dixit to be coveted by filmakers. It's a welcome change and I'm for empowerment of women because I believe that's good for our society," said the 28-year-old.
Thanks to his association with Shabana Azmi and her Mijwan Welfare Society (MWS), Ranbir is now an active participant in the betterment of conditions for the collective development of the girl child.
"We need to give the girlchild equal opportunity to the male child. I am happy that Mijwan Welfare Society an NGO in Azamgarh, UP, founded by Kaifi Azmi Saheb and now run by Shabana Azmi and Namrata Goyal, is working to transform the lives of girls in rural India.
"We need to give the girlchild equal opportunity so she gets a level playing field which is what MWS is doing," said the youth leader of MWS.
"As Youth Leader of Mijwan Welfare Society I realise that today's girlchild is tomorrow's empowered woman. We must invest in our girlchild, give her equal opportunity, so that the power of youth, propelled by girls and boys together, makes India a shining example for the world. I have been sensitised to women's issues because of Mijwan Welfare Society. Even as we celebrate International Women's Day, I'd like to take this opportunity to remind ourselves that there are many women who are struggling against a patriarchal system and it is for the youth to come forward and join organisations like Mijwan Welfare Society who are working to empower women."
"Donate Rs.6,000 a year and gift a girlchild education for a year. We blow up several times that amount in a single evening!"