Laadli day for women with media campaign

08 Mar,2013


By Meghna Sharma


Celebrating Women’s Day is no small matter. From special programmes to activities, from status updates to tweets, everyone will do their bit to make the day special for the woman/women in their lives.


But with too much negativity around us, it is possible to celebrate oneself? ‘I am Laadli’, a social media campaign by Population First in collaboration with Leo Burnett, plans to do just that by making women celebrate themselves.


A L Sharada

“We know we are not going to change the world through this campaign, and that is not our objective too. We just want women to celebrate the day by celebrating themselves. It’s a day when we want to celebrate the positive,” says Dr A L Sharada, Programme Director, Population First.


The agenda

Started in 2005, the Laadli campaign addresses the issue of sex selection through community initiatives, college based youth initiatives, media sensitization on gender issues and interventions with medical professionals and BMC medical department.


Over the years, the campaign has seen many ups and downs, but wants the positively to triumph over the negativity. Last few months have shown the gruesome face of humanity in the country where women have to fight for their safety even in the 21st century.


So is to be blamed for it? At the very root of the violence against women is the mindset that undervalues women, rationalizes violence and discrimination against them and perpetrates denial and abridgement of their rights.


“Through this campaign call upon every woman who has succeeded in claiming her rights, overcoming discrimination and one who has made a place for herself in whichever way in this society to proudly claim her right to ‘be’ and reaffirm her commitment to ensure that every girl becomes a Laadli of not just her family and friends but of the nation,” hopes Dr Sharada.


KV Sridhar

“This year the plan was to keep it simple yet powerful,” says KV Sridhar, NCD, Leo Burnett which got associated with the campaign six years back. “One doesn’t and shouldn’t need others to celebrate themselves. Hence, we wanted this year’s to be different and thought ‘why can’t we just do so by telling women to add ‘I am Laadli’ as a prefix to their names.”


It is just the beginning but already a lot of women especially celebrities have joined the venture to help other women. Renuka Sahane is one of them.



Renuka Sahane

“I was contacted by the initiative last year and since then I have been associated with them. One doesn’t need a reason for doing so. I’m sure every woman would want to be a part of a campaign which celebrates its very existence,” feels the actor, who is proud of the fact that her family didn’t distinguish between her and her brother and both were given equal opportunities as well as encouraged to follow their dreams.


More than just tokenism

Every year, the day sees numerous activities celebrating women, but do they really make a difference or are nothing but just a token?


“One must not forget that an ocean is made of many drops. So, if through these small efforts one tries to make a change, it is much more than just tokenism. It goes a long way in some way or the other,” feels Mr Sridhar.


“We don’t want others to become reformers or activists. We just want them to be positive and helps others be it in any way. For instance, funding a child’s education, volunteering at any NGO, spreading awareness are just some of the many ways one can try to make a difference. And appreciating that shouldn’t be seen as tokenism because it will take time to change mindsets,” adds Dr Sharada.


Responsibility of media

“Unfortunate as it was, the Delhi gangrape incident did bring about a change in our society. People who never took a stand, took one and came out to support not just the victim but all the women who are ill-treated in some way or the other,” points out Dr Sharada when asked what role the media plays in bringing about societal change.


After the incident, many blamed the media – advertisements and films, especially item numbers, as the reason for such incidents. “Television is a very strong medium and influences many but it would be wrong to blame it. All depends on how one watches it. For instance, if one watches a lot of crime shows, does he become a criminal?” asks Dr Sharada.


However, Ms Shahane believes that the content of the television too needs a little improvement. “If, day in and day out, women are shown as an object or treated like doormats in the shows, then it is not helping society in any way. It just goes to prove how patriarchal our society is.”


As for social media, which sees youngsters and others alike contributing and sharing their thoughts across sections, the initiative hopes to change attitudes and mindsets of people through their campaign on the medium. “We want everyone to be a Laadli. So by the simple act of adding Laadli to the name on social networking sites or signatures on their mails, official or otherwise, one is only going to spread the message and help others too to be proud of themselves,” says Mr Sridhar.


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