Arjun Kapoor, a supporter of the Girl Rising movement, shot promotional videos for the aforementioned non-profit organisation at the Air India School, Kalina, Santacruz today. Girl Rising India, headquartered in New Delhi, uses films and other media tools to change the way girls are valued in society. Late last year, Arjun Kapoor was welcomed as the organisation’s advocate for equal access to education, and gender equality. Speaking of this association, Arjun commented, “I have always believed in girls and women being given equal opportunities to realise their dreams. My own team is full of strong, and competent women. In fact, the production crew that I shot with comprised mainly women! What is it that girls and women can’t do?”
Arjun Kapoor is no novice as far as discussions and debates on gender equality are concerned. Essaying the role of a “househusband”, Arjun Kapoor starred in R Balki’s Ki & Ka - a film that challenged widely accepted gender roles endorsed in the society. “Your future does not depend on your gender, it only and only depends on your hard work and commitment. Yeh kya kahenge ya inko kaisa lagega - all this does not matter. What if all our glorious Commonwealth Games champions- Saina Nehwal, Manika Batra, Mary Kom paid heed to all this noise? ”, Arjun asserts. The actor, through Girl Rising India, wants to ensure that issues of gender-based discrimination are amplified, and practices that normalise stereotypes are discouraged. Nidhi Dubey, Country Representative, Girl Rising India, elaborates on why eliminating gender-based discrimination must be prioritised, “You don’t need to look at elaborate studies or researches to support dreams and aspirations of girls and women in the country. The recent unfortunate and barbaric instances of violence against women are rude reminders of how we perceive and value our girls. Through our ongoing and upcoming campaigns, we want to ensure that each one of us are made aware of discriminatory practices, and feels empowered to keep them from being passed down from one generation to another. Having a youth icon like Arjun Kapoor lend his support to these issues is important to bring public attention to it. To build an equal tomorrow, we must start today.”
Girl Rising launched in India in 2015 with the broadcast of its flagship film “Woh Padhegi, Woh Udegi”- a tale of 8 girls from across the world who fought near insurmountable barriers to gain an education. The film features Priyanka Chopra, Alia Bhatt, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Parineeti Chopra, Madhuri Dixit, Sushmita Sen, Nandita Das, and Freida Pinto. After the launch, Girl Rising implemented on-the-ground campaigns in districts of Bihar and Rajasthan with an aim of building confidence and aspiration of girls and encouraging parents, religious leaders, village elders to support their dreams. In a year, the campaign successfully re-enrolled over 600 children into schools, trained hundreds of teachers on gender-sensitisation, and produced two Public Service Announcements in partnership with Ministry of Women and Child Development’s Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao. Building on these successes, Girl Rising’s upcoming campaigns - gender sensitization curriculum for schools and a new mobile application that helps break gender stereotypes, are set to get its audience thinking and reflecting on the biases and prejudices prevalent in the society. “Arjun is a role model for much of the young populace in the country today, and is an avid supporter of gender-equality. We want the youth to follow his lead, and strive to make equal opportunities a lived reality.”, remarks Nidhi Dubey on why Arjun’s association is critical to the current discourse.
“The campaigns we are about to launch shall be the onset of change. I just want to tell all of you today, especially the children of this school, to question harmful norms and practices. If you see something discriminatory, say something. Like Girl Rising’s tagline says- One girl with courage is a revolution”, concludes Arjun Kapoor.