Celebrating women warriors of India

I am an Uttarakhand flood survivor and the floods made me realise how strong I am. Even when my father fainted, I and my mother did not lose heart and continued with our efforts to save ourselves and our family bravely. Surviving the floods as a young 16-year-old alone has toughened me up and now, I know that I can face any situation how daunting it may be,” says Libni Garg.

The SHE Festival was back with its second edition at Dilli Haat, INA from February 28 to March 1 with an aim to celebrate women warriors of India. In the run-up to Women’s Day, city’s women came together at one platform and raised their voices on important women issues like safety, gender discrimination and girl child education in unique and engaging ways.

Over 70 stalls selling eclectic products were put up by women entrepreneurs, exciting self-defence workshops by Krav Maga India, colourful dance and music performances on women.

Akanksha Thapliyal, who had a bag stall put up at the festival, said, “It is my second time with SHE, and I am happy that I am able to showcase my work and also sell. My brand ‘Basta se’ will also be online in some time. All the bags were designed by her.

Thapliyal said that being from Garhwal, where women are more outgoing than men, stereotypes like women need a man to maintian equality is very new to her.

“Being a solo woman raveller and woman entrepreneur, I have always felt very passionate about the fact that women should have the courage to stand up for their rights. I feel extremely disturbed that every time an atrocity is inflicted upon women, very few people actually do anything about it.

They debate, indulge in rhetorics, blame the victim, police and system, believe that nothing can change and then get over it. So I wanted to do something in my own little way to encourage women to toughen up and act,” says Akshuna Bakshi, founder of SHE and organiser, SHE Festival.

‘She Says corner’ was a special attraction for the women of today who don’t fear to voice their opinion. They picked up a placard, wrote the cause they would like to fight for and got their voices heard. From zero-tolerance to eve-teasing and rape to causes like gender quality and girl child education, city’s women voiced their opinions at this corner.

The self-defence workshop and women-travel workshop organised by Krav Maga India taught the unique Israeli military martial art to the festival audience and demonstrated key moves to protect one if attacked on the street.

‘The Nirbhaya Wall’ was dedicated to women safety. Festival participants could share their messages, thoughts and solutions for women safety on the wall and SHE would present the best solutions to the Delhi CM after the festival.

Also, acts, musicals and performances by various groups were organised, all focusing on women-centric issues.

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