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Reclaim History with HerStories!

This petition had 84 supporters

History text books in India seldom mention women in narratives of world and Indian history. A cursory glance at any of the history textbooks in the country suggests that scores of women in history have been excluded. For instance, invaluable stories that include: the likes of Kamladevi Chattopadhyay, Savitribai Phule, Bhikaji Cama and Kanaklata Baruah, among several others, in the independence struggle; Sarla Thakral who became India's first woman commercial pilot in 1938; Amelia Earhart, who was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic; Nangeli and Kannagi, who defied oppression in their own ways; Rosa Parks, who fought racial discrimination;  - and many, many more women.

In 2016, the CBSE Board removed a whole chapter on women's caste struggle in India. As a result of ignoring and downplaying the contribution of women in history, there has been a constant devaluation of women and their role in society. Their contributions in shaping history and in creating change at each turn cannot be ignored - and doing so only keeps gender inequality alive. Constant gendered oppression stems from patriarchal thinking and beliefs that reinforce male dominance. When there is an outright act of ignoring the contribution of women, there is an unspoken message of invalidation of young girls and women. When we offer a male-centric history, we convey to women and girls that no matter what they may do, what change they may inspire and what action they may take, their narratives will be erased from history. 

Education is invaluable, and schools are the first springboard to awareness. Beyond emphasizing upon scoring a given set of marks, there is a desperate need to create citizens who can build a world of empathy. Violence has been normalised at different levels today, and it is a dangerous spiral we are headed towards as a global community. In any attempt to change the narrative, it is important to restore the balance in the information we offer that makes the narrative what it is. 

This petition seeks the intervention of the Ministry of Education and various boards of Education across the country and at the centre, to revise their syllabi and textbooks to include women in history significantly - not as a standalone token chapter, but as a naturally woven narrative that does not portray their contributions as second to men, but as powerful, individual contributions. This petition also seeks out the Ministry of Women and Child Development for support in creating a more inclusive discourse by including herstory and helping achieve this change.


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