India Needs a Culture Change.

Miss R. , 31 Dec 2012
Geneila D'Souza
Geneila D’Souza
Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh
Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh

It seems Bollywood has joined the ongoing protests in response to the Delhi Assault case, demanding an overhaul of the legal system. These protests have also made worldwide headlines, putting the issue of women’s rights in India under a global microscope. While I’m happy these protesters are demanding legal change, I also think a cultural change is required to tackle this issue.

Jaya Bachchan and Hema Malini
Jaya Bachchan and Hema Malini
Shabana Azmi
Shabana Azmi

In November of last year, I posted a blog about Sonakshi Sinha on the cover of FHM. The cover had three statistics, prominently displayed in the upper right hand corner, two of which included:

“55% in Mumbai like Minors”
“82% of Cochin has rape fantasies”
Sonakshi Sinha on FHM (source: Bollyupdates.com)
Sonakshi Sinha on FHM (source: Bollyupdates.com)

Yes, a prominent men’s magazine in India proudly displayed those two awful statistics on the front cover. The odd thing is, no one really cared then, there were no protests or discussions about it. It almost felt as if liking minors or having rape fantasies were a normal thing.

Mandira Bedi
Mandira Bedi

I should also add that while the global media is highlighting the protests, they are also mentioning a very troubling statistic, India is the worst (G20) country for women, ranking behind Saudi Arabia. In addition to legal change, India needs a culture change when it comes to women’s rights. Women are discriminated against as soon as they are conceived. Parents should teach their sons to respect women, and lead by example. Respect for women should start at the home. I really hope this is a watershed moment for the country.

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